Yonkers, Rockland County work on COVID vaccines for homebound
YONKERS — Following New York City's lead, the city of Yonkers has started administering the COVID vaccine to residents who are older than 60 and homebound.
Yonkers has vaccinated nearly 1,000 homebound residents so far, with plans to reach more people soon. The city's program is part of a statewide push to vaccinate homebound individuals who otherwise have been unable to receive a COVID vaccine.
In New York City some homebound residents may be eligible to receive a single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, while those in Rockland County might soon have access as the county health department works to develop a program to reach homebound residents.
"We're not quite there yet," Rockland County Executive Ed Day said.
As part of the Yonkers program, health care professionals schedule a home visit to administer the Moderna vaccine to residents. The vaccinator will then schedule a second visit for the follow-up dose.
"It's all dictated by the state Department of Health," said Kelly Chiarella, director of the city's Office for the Aging. "How much [vaccines] we're allotted and which zip codes we go to."
The city has already vaccinated at least 900 homebound residents, she said. Within the next week it will be able to vaccinate another 300 residents who live in the 10701, 10710, 10707 and 10708 zip codes. With another round of doses hitting the last remaining zip codes, the city will be able to vaccinate 1,500 residents, according to Chiarella.
The state determines how many doses are allotted per zip code, so when the office runs out, they're gone, said Chiarella.
"The need to vaccinate our homebound is evident and being discussed statewide," she said.
The Office for the Aging has been working with telehealth company Ro Pharmacy, along with the state, to identify homebound seniors and register them to receive the vaccine.
Going building to building and working with home health aid agencies, local nonprofits and senior buildings, Chiarella said the city been able to locate many homebound individuals and get them vaccinated.
"Once again, Yonkers is leading the way as the first city in New York to administer this pilot program," said Mayor Mike Spano. "Our Office for the Aging has led an incredible effort with our partners to ensure one of our most vulnerable populations is on the road to recovery.”
Homebound seniors looking to register can contact the Yonkers Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community at 914-319-1323 or the Office for the Aging at 914-377-6823. An email is needed to register. People will need an ID with proof of birth date to receive their vaccine, with no insurance required.
Staff writer Nancy Cutler contributed to this report.Isabel Keane covers trending news for The Journal News, Poughkeepsie Journal and Times Herald-Record. Click here for her latest stories. Follow her on Twitter @ijkeane.