Program ensures home-bound NY seniors get COVID vaccine

A new program underway between the city of Yonkers, the New York Department of health, and Ro, a healthcare tech company based in Manhattan, is making sure that seniors who cannot leave their homes due to the pandemic are getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

Idalia Vasquez, 82 and living with Alzheimer's disease, met the qualifications for the vaccine some time ago, but her daughter says that trying to get her vaccinated was not easy.

"My mom has problems walking. I have a wheelchair for her, and the flight of steps, it takes me two hours to get her down the flight of steps to take her to anywhere," Clara Vasquez said.

However, thanks to Ro's program, Idalia received her first shot Monday without leaving her bedroom.

"We are looking at 65+ homebound seniors," said Dr. Melynda Barnes. "We know that 77% of COVID-19 deaths in New York are among people over the age of 65, so we're really targeting them."

Patients or their caregivers can apply at and if eligible, home visits can be scheduled with a  certified health professional to administer the first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Outreach efforts are underway to reach residents in low-income zip codes, which Dr. Barnes says was a priority for both Ro and Yonkers.

"To look at communities that had underrepresented minorities, look at communities where people may not have been born in this country, may speak a different language, where their socioeconomic status was low and where honestly education around the vaccine might be low," said Dr. Barnes.

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