Vaccine house calls bring COVID protection home

While the COVID-19 vaccine is now available to all Philadelphia residents who are 16 and older, actually accessing the shot is not always easy—especially for those who are elderly or disabled. In an effort to reach those residents, Penn Medicine has put its vaccination efforts on wheels, taking shots directly to patients’ homes.

A masked health care worker give a vaccine to a person in the upper arm who is wearing a face mask.
Image: Courtesy of Penn Medicine Service in Action

Led by Nina O’Connor, chief of Palliative Care and chief medical officer of Penn Medicine at Home, the health system has vaccinated more than 1,000 senior citizens living in public housing, as well as more than 600 homebound Penn Medicine patients. The efforts are breaking down barriers—transportation, lack of internet access, and vaccine hesitancy—that may have prevented these Philadelphians from getting immunized, and putting the city one step closer to herd immunity.

Mass vaccine sites and vaccination based in health care facilities and pharmacies have helped a large number of individuals to get vaccinated, but it’s worth the effort to reach out to those left behind who can’t easily access these sites, O’Connor notes.

Read more at Penn Medicine Service in Action.