Vaccinating the Most Vulnerable Against COVID-19

Challenges in getting a COVID-19 vaccine may be greater for Texans who are homebound

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Caretakers and family members of those who are homebound are concerned about the lack of access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Experts in home healthcare say getting this vulnerable population vaccinated is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

For Jayson Hoppe, being a home health nurse practitioner is more than a job.

It's a calling that he's doing his best to answer right now during a global pandemic.

"It certainly made access to patients more difficult," said Hoppe.

Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?

County health departments have launched waitlists for adults 16 years old and over.

You can register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:

Waitlist Links: Collin - Search Waitlist | Dallas | Denton | Tarrant

You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.

For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.

"People aren't getting the care that they need because they're concerned about going to the doctor or having people come into the home and take care of them," he said.

The answer may be the COVID-19 vaccine, which Hoppe recently received.

However, for home health care patients like 91-year-old Doyce Dillon, access to a vaccine isn't easy or simply doesn't exist.

"We must have a way to deliver the vaccine to the homebound persons that need it the most," said Associate Medical Director of Prospero Health Dr. Michael Bond.

Bond said there has yet to be formalized plans on how to vaccinate the thousands of Texans who are homebound.

Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows where COVID-19 vaccines have been sent around the state. Click on a marker to find out information about each location. Use the "plus" and "minus" signs below to zoom in and out of the map.

From the Texas DSHS: Availability of COVID-19 vaccines lilsted on this map are based on shipping information and reporting to the DSHS directly by facilities. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have vaccine on hand and that you are eligible for vaccination at that site. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups. Vaccine is available at no charge, regardless of insurance status.

They are often times the most vulnerable, whether because of their age or an illness that requires hospice or palliative care.

"Ideally, a lot of vaccines could be taken to the home to a person's residence, but with this vaccine's limitations of the storage, that's not possible," said Dr. Bond.

If a homebound person has no family or helping hands to navigate the internet, the challenges are even greater.

Doyce's daughter Valerie England said she has no choice but to risk taking her mother from her home to a hub.

"You have to decide what risk you want to take and we've decided vaccination is the route to go," said England.

All the while, Hoppe does his best to answer to the needs of his patients.

"I miss being able to give a patient a hug who needs one. That doesn't happen every day, but there are times the patients need that," said Hoppe.

*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.

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