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County announces homebound COVID-19 vaccine program

SALISBURY — County officials on Wednesday announced plans to vaccinate homebound individuals.

Rowan County Public Health and Rowan County Emergency Services will offer COVID-19 vaccines to people who are considered homebound through a setup previously used in a community paramedics program. While the Rowan County Health Department receives vaccines, paramedics from emergency services will administer the vaccines.

In its announcement Wednesday, the county said the service is intended for people who are at a high risk for a severe case of COVID-19 because of health conditions and cannot physically leave their home. It is not for someone who does not have a reliable mode of transportation.

To qualify for the service, an individual must meet all the following eligibility guidelines:

• Rowan County resident

• Meet Medicare’s definition of homebound

• Willing to certify that they are homebound and that their reason for participating is not a lack of transportation to a drive-thru clinic.

In a news release, the county said being homebound means “having a condition such that leaving his or her home is medically contraindicated (not recommended), there must exists a normal inability to leave home, and leaving home must require a considerable and taxing effort.” A person does not need to receive Medicare to receive a vaccine through the program.

As examples, the news release mentioned someone “who is blind or senile and requires the assistance of another person in leaving their place of residence,” someone who has just returned from a hospital stay involving surgery and received recommendations from a physician or a person with a psychiatric illness that is manifested, in part, by a refusal to leave home or is of such nature that it would not be considered safe.

So far, about 18,900 people in the county have received at least one dose of a vaccine about about 13,400 have been fully vaccinated.

To get more information about the homebound vaccination service, people can contact 980-432-1800, select option No. 1 and let call center staff know they’re interested in the homebound COVID-19 vaccine service.

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