Boston Medical Center doctors make house calls to vaccinate homebound seniors

BOSTON (WHDH) - Doctors from Boston Medical Center are offering at-home help to those unable to go out and get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Won Lee, of BMC’s Home Care Program, travels from house to house, vaccinating homebound seniors.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines go bad not long after the vial is punctured, meaning doctors must distribute the doses within hours.

“When we draw up the vaccine from the vial, yes, we only have six hours to use it before it gets wasted and it’s unusable,” Won explained.

Domingas Pina, who is 106 years old, has not left her home in nearly a year.

Won was able to go to her home and vaccinate her.

Lee stayed with Pina for a little more than 15 minutes before moving on to the next patient.

Some worry homebound seniors with dementia and other severe illnesses are being left behind in the vaccine rollout.

“There have been many more efforts focused on nursing home populations and the older adult population in general, but not on the logistics of this particular population,” said Dr. Christine Ritchie, professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

An estimated two million Americans can’t leave their homes and another five million can’t travel without help.

“Providing these kinds of services in the home requires some real forethought,” Ritchie said.

Lee tells her patients that the vaccine offers more than just protection against the coronavirus.

“That toll of isolation is so severe and I think that this vaccine is offering us a pathway of hope,” she said.

Maria Lopes, Pina’s daughter, says she is grateful her mother was able to get vaccinated.

“We don’t want to lose her and we want her to be healthy,” she said. “With this vaccine, I know hopefully she will keep on going.”

Lee and her team are able to vaccinate around five to six patients a day.

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