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COVID-19

Austin Public Health Teams Up With Meals On Wheels To Provide Vaccines To Homebound Adults

A vial of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine next to some syringes.
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
About 66 Meals on Wheels clients got vaccinated at their homes Monday.

Austin Public Health is partnering with Meals on Wheels Central Texas to bring COVID-19 vaccines to homebound seniors.

The initiative began Monday and is expected to continue weekly through April. Meals on Wheels, an organization that delivers food to homebound older adults and people with disabilities, worked to identify its most vulnerable clients for this first round of vaccinations.

“The homebound older adults we serve at Meals on Wheels Central Texas are at greater risk of severe COVID-19 complications,” Adam Hauser, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels Central Texas, said in a press release. “This is why we believe it is critical that they have access to vaccines as soon as possible.”

About 66 Meals on Wheels clients got vaccinated at their homes Monday.

APH's Mobile Vaccination Program has been providing vaccines to hard-to-reach populations. So far, it's brought around 1,051 vaccine doses to places like Foundation Communities and HACA sites, a city spokesperson said. The partnership with Meals on Wheels is the program's foray into reaching homebound older adults.

APH says its Mobile Vaccination Program has the capacity to distribute 400 vaccines a week, but supply is still limited.

As supply increases and the state expands eligibility requirements, APH says it might expand the program to vaccinate everyone who lives with the homebound person. Right now, a spouse or caregiver can also get a shot through the program if they fall within the 1B or 1C category, according to APH.

“We need to meet people where they are,” APH Director Stephanie Hayden-Howard said in a press release. “With a pandemic, government agencies have to be more flexible with their operations than ever before, and we have to continue our holistic approach from large-scale vaccine operations to community partnerships with the Mobile Vaccine Program.”

While the mobile vaccine initiative isn't open to the public — meaning people can't request a homebound vaccine when signing up in APH's online portal — people can call 311 to request assistance in getting transportation to a vaccine site.

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