TWIN FALLS — The CSI Office on Aging, the health district, and several other local healthcare providers have partnered together to help a specific population receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
This new service stems from a transportation system that the health district and the Office on Aging organized to help seniors get to their vaccine appointments. This new method has been in the works for weeks and will bring the vaccine directly to the door of "homebound" residents.
Public Information Officer for the health district, Brianna Bodily, said, “Individuals or residents who cannot leave their home without assistance and do not have family or friends who can help them. So they need outside assistance to be able to leave their home and get to that vaccine appointment. You can take that one step further and also homebound individuals include people who cannot leave their home at all for various reasons. ”
The Office on Aging and health district partnered with The Magic Valley Paramedic Community Health Emergency Medical Services (CHEMS) unit, the Minidoka Memorial Hospital CHEMS unit, Shoshone Family Medical Center, and Luke’s Pharmacy.
An appointment can be made through either the Office on Aging or the Health District with information then relayed to those providers.“Those requests mostly stay in house with us. We put together a map of those locations and provide that map to that provider so that they can go directly to that individual's door,” said Bodily.
The health district has identified nearly 800 people living in the region that can be considered as "homebound". Since the majority of that population is compiled of senior citizens, officials want to reassure them that this is a reliable and safe service, even though the providers are strangers.
Shawna Wasko, the Public Information Officer for the CSI Office on Aging, said, “That’s a big deal for seniors, strangers coming in their home and they’re highly vulnerable anyway. So, these will be people that they’re going to trust and feel safe with and they will be safe with them.”
Since the senior population has continuously struggled in receiving their vaccines through digital means or even just phoning into a provider, this service aims to make it easier.
“It is very frustrating for a lot of families and a lot of people that younger people were getting the shot and we didn’t have the people that super needed it taken care of. So, It’s just a way that certain agencies have to collaborate and get together and say “hey we have a really big issue here and we need to figure out how to handle it,” and a lot of smart people did,” said Wasko.
People who qualify for a homebound vaccination are encouraged to sign up and that can be done through the health district's hotline at 208-737-1138, or the CSI Office on Aging at 208-736-2122.