Central District Health partners with local agencies to bring COVID-19 vaccines to homebound Idahoans

Vaccines are administered to homebound individuals
Posted at 1:00 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 14:39:31-04

Treasure Valley residents who are homebound now have easier access to the coronavirus vaccine thanks to a local partnership.

Central District Health alongside the Southwest Idaho Area Agency on Aging, Meals on Wheels, the Governor’s Office IT Services and Preventative Health Services all partnered together to collectively create a mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic for people who are homebound 65 years and older.

Through this partnership, Preventative Health Services goes home-to-home to administer vaccines through a mobile clinic — a process the company was already familiar with.

Preventative Health mobile vaccine unit
Preventative Health RN Kim Gurgel administers vaccines to homebound individuals

“When we got tapped on the shoulder by the health department, they had the population for the Meals on Wheels department that wasn’t being serviced at all, they’re all homebound community members,” Preventative Health CEO Danielle Bennion said. “We were already going onsite to businesses and delivering our health screenings and vaccinations. We are set up with our mobile vans and our staff can be mobile, our bags are all mobile, we have iPads we take to each clinic.”

The partnership came together when the vaccine was opened to this group of residents, and the vaccine demand exceeded the weekly allocations given to the community, making it a challenge for some to access technology or make an appointment.

Preventative Health Vaccine
A Meridian resident is asked questions before receiving the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine Thursday.

Meals on Wheels with the Southwest Idaho Area Agency on Aging identified homebound seniors needing vaccines reached out to let them know about this service.

“They’re the population that has difficulty with mobility issues or difficulty access transportation,” Southwest Idaho Area Agency on Aging Executive Director Raul Enriquez said.

Seniors were placed on a list that was then mapped out using Geographic Information Systems from the Office of the Governor.

"I used GIS which has some really good capabilities for determining logistics and routing. We did an online meeting with the health district to figure out when they would be leaving, how long each visit would take and if they want to go out for a full day or half a day," GIS Analyst Wilma Robertson said.

Preventative Health Services were then able to administer the COVID-19 vaccine doses using the mobile clinic.

“I used those tools and came up with a bunch of routes and worked with Preventative Health services and gave them an app that basically shows them all of those routes and they can take it in the car with them, they can click on a button that will give them turn by turn directions and also a way basically record once they have done a visit," Robertson said.

Homebound vaccination map demo

Central District Health Public Information Officer, Christine Myron says another program is also in the works to help administer more vaccines.

CDH and its community partners recognize that there are many other residents within our community who have mobility and access challenges that are keeping them from getting vaccinated for COVID-19. Currently, another program is in the works, though it is still in the early stages. The program is being efforted by CDH, Living Independence Network (LINC []), and the National Guard, and will serve community members of all ages in Ada County who have mobility and access challenges that prevent them from being able to physically visit a vaccination site. We anticipate the program will work similarly to the one that was done specifically for those 65 and older, in that, people will be identified through community organizations, like LINC, addresses will be mapped, and a National Guard team will go out into the community to provide vaccine to those eligible.

If you are interested to learn more or about qualifications call Central District Health's call center 208-321-2222 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.