CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — A partnership between Cabarrus Health Alliance and Cabarrus County EMS is bringing COVID-19 vaccinations to residents in the county unable to leave their homes.
CHA has completed almost 19,000 vaccinations at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center drive-thru clinics, but that total does not include the thousands of residents who are unable to leave home without significant effort due to illness or injury.
The conditions that keep these individuals from leaving their homes make this same group of people extremely high-risk for COVID-19.
“Folks that are bed bound, don’t get out, could be severely immune compromised,” Cabarrus County EMS Chief Jimmy Lentz said.
The CHA found a solution in a partnership with the county’s EMS called the EMS Community Paramedic program. It provides in-home, non-emergency care to patients. The program was launched in 2015 originally to reduce hospital readmission and to cut down on 911 calls for non-life-threatening issues.
Community paramedics use home visitations to take their time explaining information, evaluate any risk factors at home, make sure medications are being taken and provide ongoing support.
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Now, officials have also added the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to community paramedics’ routines.
The community paramedics were trained by CHA’s vaccination team and rolled out a soft launch of the vaccine program on Feb. 8. Since then, they have vaccinated 30 people who are regularly visited by community paramedics.
Those people include 79-year-old Henry Crowder, who was nervous about the needle at first, but got his shot. Without the visit from the community paramedics, he might not have gotten a vaccine at all, Crowder said.
“It’d have been a mess,” Crowder said. “The doctor scheduled me to come to a drive-thru and I can’t drive.”
Crowder said he’s looking forward to getting his second shot now.
“After I get the other shot I know I’ll be able to travel a little bit then,” he said. “Get your vaccination, man!”
Cabarrus County EMS said they will keep vaccinating those who are unable to leave their homes on Fridays until the need is met.
As more resources become available, CHA and EMS will expand the program to individuals who do not currently receive community paramedic services.
To qualify, individuals must:
• Be unable to physically leave their home
• Live in geographical bounds of Cabarrus County
• Meet current eligibility requirements outlined in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan
Paramedics will also vaccinate one primary caregiver for the eligible patient, who must also be in the home at the scheduled appointment time.
To complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Home Visiting Program request form, click here. Those without internet access can call 704-920-1213.
The vaccination program is not available to individuals who can leave their home but who have transportation challenges. More information about a vaccination transportation program will be made available in the coming weeks.