ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – A “soft launch” vaccination process has started for homebound individuals in Monroe County.

Dr. Alice Loveys, the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Hub Homebound Lead,  says they identified 500 homebound patients in the county after reaching out to home health care agencies. They then used the Rochester RHIO to check data in the New York State immunization registry to see who had already been vaccinated out of those 500 people.

“It turned out 40% had already been vaccinated, so that’s wonderful,” Dr. Loveys said.  

Dr. Loveys said those giving out vaccinations to homebound individuals are local emergency medical service agencies. “They know the people they are going to vaccinate, so that’s a nice community connection,” she said. 

Syed Ahmed Mustafa, the President and CEO of the Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support and a paramedic, got to vaccinate four homebound individuals last week.

“EMS interacts with the community all the time but people think of us in a very narrow channel which is, we take people to the hospital, but we can do so much more,” Mustafa said.

The vaccination process took some planning. There are strict requirements for those transporting the the vials to different homes.

“Everybody has been trained on how to handle the vaccine, how to transport it at the appropriate temperature, how to handle it appropriately, it’s a very sensitive vaccine,” Dr. Loveys said. 

There is a limited time frame that vaccinators have from the time the vial comes out of the freezer.

“We have six hours from the first puncture of the vial until the end. But the nice part is we transport it in a very simple cooler with ice,” Mustafa said.

One of the vials can vaccinate five different individuals. While in route, EMS agencies use a data logger to monitor the vaccine’s temperature. 

“As long as there are no deviations the dose is good. If there are deviations, then we stop administering, go get new vaccine, and then continue on,” Mustafa said.

Vaccination appointments are usually scheduled based on zip-codes. Each EMS agency has an assigned area within Monroe County so they can easily transport vaccines to nearby places. 

Dr. Lovey’s said there isn’t a difference between getting the vaccine at a clinic versus at home. Patients will be observed by a pandemic for 15 minutes after receiving the shot. 

This launch helps many homebound individuals who weren’t able to go out and get the vaccine themselves. Dr. Loveys shared a quote from the wife of a patient who had been vaccinated: “I am so glad you’re doing this program. I’ve been worried since January how I was going to get this vaccine done, he is completely bedridden and this service is perfect. Thank you.”

“They’re so grateful. These are people at high-health risk that want the vaccine that don’t have an easy way to get there, they are all bed-bound patients,” Mustafa said.

Dr. Loveys said the vaccination process has been a tremendous team effort and she thanks all the providers, EMS, and departments who have come together to help. The Monroe County Department of Health has provided the vaccines. 

The four agencies taking part in the vaccinations include:

  • CHS Ambulance of Henrietta
  • Pittsford Ambulance 
  • Monroe Ambulance 
  • Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support 

If you are homebound or know anyone who is homebound and need to schedule a vaccine appointment, call the Monroe County COVID-19 hotline at (585)-753-5555. You can also call LifeSpan or 2-1-1.