COA partners with health department to deliver vaccines to homebound residents

CASSOPOLIS — Though COVID-19 vaccination efforts are in full swing, one group remains difficult for health officials to reach — homebound and limited mobility residents.

To help meet the need, the Cass County Council on Aging is partnering with the Van Buren/Cass District Health Department to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to homebound Cass County residents and members of their household.

“We want to be sure we can get everyone in our county vaccinated,” said Lori Hardy, a registered nurse and the COA’s care services team lead. “We realize there is a population in our community that cannot make it to clinics for health reasons or transportation reasons or whatever it may be. We want to be available for those people as well.”

For the project, the COA will be taking appointments to go into homebound residents’ homes to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to them and others within the home.

“We want to ensure that the person, as well as anyone they may come in to close contact with, is vaccinated,” Hardy said. “Even when you are homebound, you still have the risk of being exposed [to COVID-19] by people coming to see you, even if it is a food delivery person. There is still a risk they could come into contact with someone unknowingly spreading the virus.”

The COA will begin the vaccination project early next week, and staff hope to vaccinate 10 individuals per day, who will be scheduled based on location.

“Ever since January, we have realized the importance of seniors being vaccinated, so we’ve wanted to do everything we can to help the health department,” said CEO Marty Heirty. “This is just the latest way we can help. We have the resources to send nurses out and make sure this is successful.”

One nurse who will be working to administer vaccines to homebound residents is Amber Henschel. As she has been working at clinics throughout the past several months to deliver COVID-19 vaccines, she said she believes the COA’s program for homebound residents is set up for success.

“I’m pretty excited to get out there and be able to do this,” she said. “I believe it will go well.”

Hardy, Heirty and Henschel all said they believe in the importance of vaccinating seniors against COVID-19, and have so far had a positive response to their newest vaccination efforts.

“I think for a lot of seniors, [the vaccine] is a little sliver of peace of mind,” Hardy said.

“They just feel safer,” Henschel added. “That’s important.”

To schedule a COVID-19 vaccination through the COA for a homebound resident, call Lisa Stephens at (269) 228-5519.

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