Vaccines will now come to you
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio's homebound residents interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine have a new option, which can come right to their door.
Columbus-based health-care company OFFOR Health has teamed up with the Ohio Department of Health as part of the state's Regional Rapid Response Assistance Program, which identifies Ohioans in need of health care who cannot easily leave their home.
Jamie Wilson, director of clinical operations for OFFOR Health, said with statewide collaboration, they are able to reach a larger swath of homebound residents who lack transportation or have comorbidities.
"For us, the benefit is we can go anywhere to any patient," Wilson explained. "It doesn't need to be a patient that's tied to a ZIP code or a health system, or a home health nursing agency, and so I think that is the benefit, the flexibility, the customization of our program."
Now in its third week, OFFOR health-care workers are traveling twice a week throughout the state and reaching five to 10 patients per day. They have capabilities to provide the Johnson & Johnson, Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
Wilson pointed out some of their biggest challenges are reaching people in areas with low vaccinations. And as the Delta variant continues to surge, reaching people who are hesitant about the COVID vaccine is critical to keeping hospitalizations down.
Wilson noted for some in rural areas, a lack of transportation held some patients back. But for those who were wary of the vaccine, Wilson observed a personalized approach by the homebound program can sometimes help convince people to get the shot.
"Being able to provide the information that the patient feels they haven't received or may not be accurate has really changed a lot of minds, and it's not something we truly anticipated when we started the program," Wilson remarked. "So we want to make sure that we're that voice that clears up a lot of those misconceptions and gives them that accurate information so that they can make an informed decision."
OFFOR also collaborates with partners such as CareSource and Buckeye Health Plan to host pop-up neighborhood vaccine clinics across the state weekly.