Shiawassee County health workers making house calls with COVID-19 vaccine

EMTs and hospital staff visiting 150+ homebound residents next week
Published: Mar. 23, 2021 at 5:34 PM EDT
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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - The Shiawassee County Health Department enlisted a number of community partners to bring the vaccine to those who need it most.

Starting next week, they’ll be making home visits to vaccinate some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

“We thought it was very important to make sure we capture the homebound population so they didn’t feel like they were forgotten,” said Jodi DeFrenn, the health department’s emergency preparedness coordinator.

The Shiawassee County Health Department first touched base with the Council on Aging. The nonprofit connected with those they assist throughout the week -- whether that’s bringing them meals or helping with transportation.

As the list of people in need started to grow, more and more community partners joined the effort.

“It’s not about the health department, it’s about how incredible this community is in taking care of our most vulnerable -- huge, huge impact for the community,” DeFrenn said.

She’s a part of the team that came up with the idea for making vaccine house calls. So far, they have about 150 homebound residents on their list to visit and administer the vaccine to next week.

If getting to one the scheduled vaccination clinics is the only issue, DeFrenn said they’re arranging transportation. Otherwise, HomeJoy is taking the calls for appointments. Memorial Healthcare in Owosso and EMTs from Owosso, Corunna and Perry will be making house calls to vaccinate the individuals.

“Our staff will go out there and paramedics will meet with them, talk with them to do a quick medical history, administer vaccine and after 15 minutes, if no problems, they’ll go on to the next one. Try and (administer) five or 10 vaccines a day,” said Owosso Public Safety Director Kevin Lenkart.

Two Owosso EMTs are taking part in the effort and the department already worked out the logistics if they’re called to an emergency.

The health department hopes to receive a shipment of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine next week for this effort so they don’t have to make a second appointment. But DeFrenn said they’ll work with what they have if that doesn’t happen.

“This is probably the most heartwarming part of my position for me,” she said. “And it actually brings tears to my eyes, not just from the effort in the coordination, but from the community partners that stepped up to assist with their most vulnerable.”

Call 989-666-3887 for information about being added to the homebound seniors vaccination list in Shiawassee County.

So far, Shiawassee County health care providers have administered 22,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, including a clinic with 550 people on Tuesday.

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