Vaccinating home-bound seniors a growing concern

Photo: Many elderly people are unable to travel by car to a facility where they can be vaccinated. Others might be able to go if a ride were available, but they live alone and have no family members to help them. (Georgia Health News)

ALBANY HERALD — Getting homebound relatives vaccinated against COVID-19 isn't easy. But it's a problem a lot of caregivers will be facing: About 1.9 million adults over 65 are mostly homebound and another 5.3 million have health conditions that make leaving home difficult, according to the health policy think tank Commonwealth Fund. There is no national plan for getting COVID-19 vaccines delivered to older homebound adults.

So, it's likely that family members or other caregivers will need to arrange for homebound people to be transported to vaccine centers, says Dr. Steven Albert, professor and chair of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health's Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences. "It is a very confusing picture right now," Albert says. "It's easy to get vaccines to nursing homes. But for every one person in a nursing home, there are probably five people in their homes with equal levels of disability who rely on a combination of family and community-based services."

So where should you start if you need to get a homebound parent vaccinated?

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