If there’s anyone who can quickly and efficiently get the vaccine out to the most vulnerable populations, it’s home care organizations.
After a long and difficult year, the hope we’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived. The U.S Food and Drug Administration approved distribution of the vaccine for COVID-19, created by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. The vaccines were first administered in Queens in mid-December 2020 to healthcare workers and vaccinations of the general public are expected to continue until Spring 2021.
While all of this is very encouraging, it’s unfortunate that home care organizations have so far at the time of this writing not been given the ability to distribute and administer the vaccine to the elderly population, the group at greatest risk for the virus.
So far, lawmakers have not provided home care organizations with the vaccine. We believe that this is shortsighted and hope Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey will soon empower home care organizations like Clare Medical to distribute and administer the vaccine to patients.
“There is probably not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t ask about the COVID-19 vaccine and if we can provide it,” said Clare Medical of New Jersey COO, Deborah Scott. “We get people calling and emailing us all the time asking if we can give them the vaccine, but unfortunately New Jersey has not given us the power to do so yet.”
Each state is receiving a certain amount of doses depending on its population size, and each state’s governor then decides how to distribute them. However, according to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, the first to receive the vaccines should be high-risk health care providers and residents of nursing homes.
At Clare Medical, we believe that home-based care patients should also be among the first to receive the vaccine. Millions of senior patients are restricted to their homes due to health conditions or the fear of contracting COVID-19. They should be considered high-risk individuals. Organizations like ours are treating this population daily. If given the opportunity, home care organizations like ours will be on the front lines of eradicating the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the CDC, 8 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths were people over the age of 65. One’s risk for contracting the virus increases with age, underscoring the importance of vaccinating the elderly population as soon as possible. Home care organizations can bring it to their homes quickly, safely, and easily, without requiring elderly people to put themselves at risk by going outside or standing in lines.
By Spring, Pfizer agreed to fill 100 million doses and Moderna 200 million doses, and since each person is required to take two doses, that means 150 million people will obtain the vaccine. We believe it is top priority to acquire the vaccine and distribute it to all of our home-based patients.
Why it’s Important to Distribute the Vaccines to Home-based Care
Whether an elderly patient avoids visiting a doctor’s office or hospital due to fear or to risk, most seniors are confined to their homes and continue to be. And with the pandemic still causing a high infection rate, seniors have every right to want to stay home and protect themselves.
Distributing the vaccine through home-based care providers will save seniors the time and energy of traveling to a clinic or a hospital and waiting in line — all of activities that can put their health in jeopardy during a pandemic.
Since the vaccine requires two doses for full coverage, that means seniors are still vulnerable after the first dose, again putting them at risk of exposure when they leave the house to get their second vaccination.
In fact, the Pfizer vaccination is shown to be 95% effective only after seven days of the second dose and Moderna is shown to be 94% effective only after 14 days of the second dose so it’s important not to wait too long between the first dose and the second. This is yet another reason why home-based care should be a primary way of distributing the vaccine to higher-risk individuals.
Home-based care is also beneficial for people who are apprehensive about getting the vaccine. Being able to receive the vaccine in a patient’s home, where they feel comfortable and trust their caregivers, will ease their minds and make it easier for them to accept a vaccine that will protect their lives.
Clare Medical is Ready and Willing, but Waiting for State Officials to Give the Go-Ahead
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have special requirements, including being stored at below-freezing temperatures and each has a different storage life. We understand each vaccine’s specific needs and have the proper equipment to maintain their ingredients’ survival.
Once we receive the vaccines, we are fully prepared and ready to distribute them.
We value all of our patients’ health and safety; that’s why we want to make this process as smooth and easy as possible for them.
It is still unknown when we’ll be able to provide you with the vaccine, but Clare Medical will always be here for your health needs or concerns.
If you would like to set up an appointment with one of our healthcare providers, please call us today at (609) 474-0120. We’ll bring the vaccine to you, so you don’t have to worry about the logistics of where to go and how you’ll get there.