Texas fire departments team up with Meals on Wheels to vaccinate homebound senior citizens

Coronavirus

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Nexstar) — In a virtual briefing on Thursday, the Texas Department of State Health Services discussed how it’s looking to fill the gaps in vaccine distribution across the state.

While the state’s largest vaccine hubs have immunized thousands in recent weeks, they’re not for everyone, like Lila Bradshaw.

“I had spoken to my doctor, and he really recommended that I not go to one of the big sites,” 79-year-old Bradshaw said, explaining that she has been taking quarantine very seriously for months and didn’t want to go to a hub to risk exposure.

The state is now working to figure out how to reach Texans like her.

“The new focus on the 75 and older is highlighted focus in the coming weeks in order to help us try to get what we’re calling our ‘super seniors’ vaccinated really quickly in a timely way,” Imelda Garcia, DSHS’ associate commissioner said Thursday.

Garcia touted San Antonio and Corpus Christi’s models of vaccinating homebound senior citizens as the perfect example.

Chief Robert Rocha with the Corpus Christi Fire Department said they teamed up with Meals on Wheels to reach those who couldn’t leave their home.

“We thought that if we could access those lists, who already have a pre-programmed route that they take, we could shadow them, and vaccinate senior citizens in their home,” Rocha explained.

“I answered the phone. And they said, Well, you know, you’re on our list. And we’ll be there in 20 minutes,” Bradshaw said. “I was absolutely elated, if you want to know the truth.”

CCFD has now vaccinated 851 seniors in five days, with plans to continue serving seniors with a new hotline once the department is provided with more vaccines.

“When we get notified that we’re going to get 500 vaccines, we open the hotline and allow 500 people to register. And then we can take we can take those lists, and divvy it amongst divvied amongst the firefighters,” Rocha said.

But seniors aren’t the state’s only focus.

“The expert vaccine allocation panel has actively been discussing getting more vaccines to our rural areas,” Garcia explained. She said the state’s mobile vaccine pilot program is receiving positive reviews so far.

“My mom, she’s 90 years old. I work in the school system, and I’m protecting myself, but I don’t, I don’t want, you know, to bring anything home to her,” Cuero school nurse Sandra Brazil said when she received her vaccine from the mobile clinic last week.

The Texas Division of Emergency Management announced Thursday five more counties will be seeing mobile vaccine clinics this week, as seen on the map below.

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