SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — While many people have the ability to head to a local vaccination site, some Central New Yorkers can’t leave their homes. That’s where Nascentia Health steps in, bringing the shots to them.
Three weeks ago, nurses at Nascentia Health started to go into homes, vaccinating people with the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. So far, they’ve reached more than 800 people who are stuck at home for one reason or another. At first, with supply from local health departments, they started with their own Nascentia Health patients. Now, they’re working with other community partners to access more people. If anyone does not feel safe or can’t leave their homes, they will get to them.
“I think as word gets out, as we are networking with other organizations in the community, the need, the individuals who need the service, they’re coming to the surface,” said Andrea Lazarek-LaQuay, Chief Clinical Officer at Nascentia Health. “Certainly providing this to individuals who are already under home care services, that’s the largest population of homebound individuals. But again, as you network with those community-based providers, you’re finding other individuals. And maybe not homebound for the traditional reasons we may think. There are a number of individuals who may have mental health conditions or other issues that may prevent them from coming out to those larger [vaccination] sites.”
The number of people they’re able to vaccinate is based on the supply of the vaccine. Right now they have 150 patients waiting for their shots. The Johnson & Johnson shot is in limited supply but it’s perfect for this operation, to get in and out quicker. Plus it doesn’t need to be kept at below zero temperatures.
This population has had no other way to get their shots, until now.
“For those individuals who are already experiencing barriers, they’re at the highest risk. Either because of their comorbidities, their age, and this provides them with some additional freedom, if you will, to be able to get out if they can or to receive services that they had up until now refused,” Lazarek-LaQuay said. “When COVID-19 hit, there were a number of seniors who were receiving care and said, ‘You know what, I don’t want anyone in my home.’ So by getting the vaccine, it provides another layer of protection, and hopefully, they will be able to receive those services that they really need.”
The nurses are not just giving the shot, waiting 15 minutes and leaving. Many of these people have been home alone without access to services for a year. And they will connect those people to the resources they need.
“Either they need more food support or we can make a referral to Meals on Wheels. Or if they have other medical conditions that have been exacerbated because they haven’t received care, we’re able to reach out to their primary care doctor. Or be able to set them up for whatever services they might need,” said Andrea Lazarek-LaQuay, Chief Clinical Officer at Nascentia Health.
If you or someone you know is stuck at home and needs a vaccine, you can call Nascentia Health during normal business hours at (1) 888-477-4663. But they do have an answering service and if nobody is there to answer your call, leave a message and they will call you back. This is for anyone in their service area, which spans across New York. They cover Onondaga, Oneida, Cayuga, Madison, and Oswego counties.