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New York City Launches Effort to Vaccinate Homebound Seniors for COVID-19

A senior gets vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson single-dose Covid-19 vaccine in Batavia. (Photo: Darren McGee- Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo)

March 8, 2021 By Allie Griffin

New York City launched an effort last week to vaccinate thousands of homebound seniors for COVID-19.

The city is utilizing its supply of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine to bring the shot directly to seniors inside their homes.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is easier to transport because it doesn’t need to be refrigerated at sub-zero temperatures like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — and it only requires one shot. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses to be fully effective against the virus.

“Finally we have a vaccine that [protects people] in one shot and a vaccine that’s actually flexible enough that we can use even going door-to-door in a building and not have to worry about the refrigeration issues,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press briefing Monday.

The vaccination effort for homebound seniors started last week in Far Rockaway, Co-Op City and Brighton Beach. The city will begin vaccinating more homebound seniors in Jamaica and several neighborhoods outside of Queens this week, de Blasio said.

Through the effort, health providers working with the city will vaccinate at least 1,200 people a week, starting next week. As supply increases, the city hopes to ramp up that number to vaccinate about 2,700 seniors a week, de Blasio said.

“This effort is going to continue across the five boroughs very rapidly,” he said. “Now this week, it builds up. Next week, we go to fuller strength and we will be doing at least 1,200 vaccinations a week.”

The goal of the program is to reach every homebound senior in New York City by the end of next month, de Blasio said. There are between 14,000 and 23,000 “fully homebound” seniors across the five boroughs, according to City Hall.

“Our goal is to reach all homebound seniors in this city who want to be vaccinated between this month and next month,” he said. “So, over the next seven weeks or so, we believe we can reach every single one.”

The city is also working with community-based organizations, senior centers and ad-lib retirement communities.

“We believe we can reach literally every homebound senior,” de Blasio said. “We welcome anyone who needs the vaccine to come forward — we are going to come to your door and give you the protection you need.”

Seniors or their loved ones can make an appointment for the homebound vaccine program through the city’s normal vaccination appointment sign-up — by calling 877-VAX-4NYC or visiting vax4nyc.nyc.gov. Queens residents who need help scheduling an appointment for the vaccine can call the Queens Borough President’s Office at 718-286-2680 for assistance.

There is also a special interest form for homebound seniors who want the vaccine. For in-home vaccinations for fully homebound eligible New York City residents, click here to make a request for a call back to further discuss eligibility for the program.

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