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In-Home Vaccinations for Housebound Chesterfield Residents

Chesterfield County’s Fire and EMS department are bringing COVID-19 vaccines to homebound residents who have medical issues. (Photo Courtesy of Chesterfield County)

Chesterfield County’s Fire and EMS department are bringing COVID-19 vaccines to homebound residents who have medical issues. 

Allen Yee is the county’s tactical medicine provider and runs Mobile Integrated Healthcare. Since 2014, the unit has helped homebound residents who have medical issues, working with them at a more holistic level than the emergency care they'd receive from calling 911.

As an example, Yee said if someone calls 911 because they fall and break their leg, the paramedics will come and transport that person to the hospital. 

“But what we didn't address [is] why you fell, or why you got sick,” Yee said. “So this unit allows us the ability and the flexibility to say, ‘OK, what really happened here? What are the events that led you to call 911?’”

After Yee’s team of four began vaccinating the county’s first responders, he said he knew they could do more.

“What about the patients who are bed bound? They can't get out to go to a Walgreens, go to one of our [vaccine sites], go to their doctor's offices,” Yee said.  “We thought about why can't we just use the infrastructure, the mechanism we created? And let's just go to them.”

Yee said the team is made up of one paramedic who serves as the lieutenant and three paramedic firefighters. They're assigned vehicles to respond to calls, with a peer counselor. 

Captain Chad Vaughn of the county’s EMS Division, who has partnered with Yee, agreed.

“We figured if we can do that, why not be able to do that with our residents that can't leave their home and come to our vaccination clinics, say at the fairgrounds or the Public Safety Training Center,” Vaughn said. “Let's use the same mechanism. The same approach that we did with our firefighters.”

Yee said the program is still in the pilot stage but his unit has already vaccinated a few homebound residents.

“I had the privilege of vaccinating someone the other day. I can tell you that, you know, going to their homes, the family and the patients are just so wonderful,” Yee said. “They've been grateful for the opportunity to be vaccinated. It's really an eye opener.” 

Both Yee and Vaughn said they have started coordinating with the Virginia Department of Health and with private and public home care providers to reach out to people who want shots. 

“We realize how important it is to vaccinate those who can't get out, because they obviously have a lot of medical problems. They're likely the highest risk category if they were to get COVID,” Yee said. “So it's wonderful. And the families are absolutely grateful.”

In-home vaccinations by MIH for bed bound patients are only available for Chesterfield County residents.

Residents in the county can email: [email protected] for an appointment. Officials say a phone number is coming soon.

*In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly spelled Mr. Allen Yee's name. We have fixed this error and regret our mistake.

Ian M. Stewart is the transportation reporter and fill-in anchor for VPM News.