HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — There are times during our steady walk toward normal, after this global pandemic slowed us all down, when you realize for many people "the way back" is just not as easy as it is for most.
There are folks who, for many reasons, can't leave their homes, and that means getting a vaccine has been complicated. To alleviate some of that stress, Hillsborough County launched a program in February, specifically aimed at making that task a little easier for those who are homebound.
It’s a partnership between Hillsborough County and Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, the nonprofit that operates TransCare Medical Transportation Services, providing doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the county’s most vulnerable.
“I won’t be afraid. I’ve been afraid without having the vaccine. This will make me feel easier, more confident, not afraid,” said Kathy Murphy, who received her COVID-19 shot through the homebound vaccination program.
Paramedics and EMS crews with Crisis Center of Tampa Bay work with nonprofits like Meals On Wheels as well as Hillsborough County, to identify those who may have a harder time making it to a vaccination site whether due to medical conditions or lack of transportation.
“Drive-thru, again just doesn’t work for very vulnerable populations. And when you think about it, it’s not just the elderly,” said Clara Reynolds, President and CEO of Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
So instead of a drive-thru, they drive to you and administer anywhere from 20 to 50 shots a day.
“This week we actually reached 1,000 shots,” said Jay Rajyaguru, Emergency Management Coordinator with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.
That’s all since they started the program in mid-February.
“Even though they are homebound, sometimes they do have interactions, like they have family members coming and going, they have workers who service them such as our partners like Meals on Wheels and their nursing agencies who come in and out every day, so it’s still important for them to have the same level of protection as everyone else,” said Rajyaguru.
If you’re in Hillsborough County and medical conditions or lack of transportation prevent you from being able to go get your COVID-19 vaccine, you can contact the county through one of these ways: