Arlington officials have begun administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents who are homebound.
On Thursday, Ruth Stone and her family were the first to be vaccinated at their home under this new effort by the city of Arlington.
Stone’s 37-year-old son Matthew lives with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The genetic disorder is characterized by progressive muscle degeneration and weakness.
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In her son’s case, a home visit vaccination was the only option.
“He’s not able to use a wheelchair anymore, so he pretty much has to go by ambulance if he’s got to go to the hospital or to get medical care somewhere,” Stone explained.
According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the prevalence of the disease in Europe and North America is approximately six per 100,000 individuals. Matthew’s condition requires extensive care, Stone said.
“He does have private duty nurses that work during the daytime hours with him. When they leave in the evening, dad and I take over those responsibilities,” she said. “It’s a bit restrictive on all of us. We’re kind of here at the house most of the time, but he’s a great kid so it’s really not a burden that you want to complain about.”
Stone said she reached out to the city of Arlington and Tarrant County for options given her son’s situation. On Thursday, she, her husband, and son were all vaccinated at home.
They were one of two families that were visited Thursday by the Arlington Fire Department, according to Deputy Chief James Boque.
“It’s completely different. We went from doing 500 to 600 people an hour. This is a little different pace,” Boque said. “We’re just getting our feet wet. We’re just trying to change gears and change it more to community outreach.”
On Thursday, the COVID-19 vaccination center which operated at Globe Life Field moved to the Esports Stadium Arlington. Boque said between both locations, more than 150,000 shots have been administered since the Esports Stadium opened in late December.
Though Thursday marked the first day of home visits, it will not be the last.
“We’re working with the social agencies. We’re working with Tarrant County Public Health as we have throughout the whole process and throughout people who are reaching out to the fire department,” Boque said. “It’s honestly, it’s been very rewarding. When we started the process, we never imagined this is our business model, you know?”
Stone said she was grateful this was an option for her family.
“For dad and I, we could go somewhere. It’s a little harder because it’s harder to leave the house during certain times, but it’s helpful to us because then we’re not going to have to wait in line,” she said. “We’ve avoided restaurants and we’ve avoided family gatherings. We’ve had very few people that come in the home. I think it’s going let us kind of free up a little bit. I’m anxious just like everybody else to go out to dinner or have the neighbors over or something like that.”
Residents in Tarrant County with confirmed vaccination appointments are eligible for free rides. For more information, click here.
More information on the Arlington Fire Department's public health unit can be found here.