DHEC launches program to vaccinate homebound residents

DHEC launches program to vaccinate homebound residents

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - DHEC has announced it will be partnering with Agape Care Group to help bring COVID-19 vaccines to homebound Phase 1a individuals in Hampton and Jasper Counties.

As part of ongoing efforts to ensure all South Carolinians have equal and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines, DHEC has been developing plans to ensure individuals who may be homebound due to health issues, age, or other reasons have easy access to their shots.

After scheduling an appointment, Phase 1a homebound individuals will have a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse visit their home and administer the shot. The nurse will stay for 15 minutes to monitor for any allergic reaction, which is the standard monitoring period for all individuals who receive the vaccine.

“We’re incredibly happy to roll out this important plan with Agape Care Group as we continue to make vaccine available to everyone who can get their shots,” Senior Deputy for Public Health Nick Davidson said. “While this program is starting small and is taking place in just two counties, we will learn from this initial rollout and will be able to adapt and expand this service. We’re planning to onboard additional partners and are hoping to have a statewide program in place by April.”

There are roughly 170 homebound individuals in Hampton County and 200 homebound individuals in Jasper County. These Phase 1A homebound individuals and their live-in caregiver, if they have one and who is also Phase 1A eligible, can get their shots. They will receive two doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Residents can schedule an appointment by calling DHEC’s Vaccine Information Line at 866-365-8110 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Residents will need to provide their name, date of birth, and address to a call line operator who will give the information to Agape Care. Agape Care will call the resident within a few days to schedule an appointment. If residents have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, an operator can help answer them.

DHEC is sending information directly to these identified homebound individuals in these two counties that provides information about this program and how to schedule their appointment. DHEC is also providing information about the program to the South Carolina Department of Aging, South Carolina AARP, South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, and other community coalitions that assist homebound individuals and can help connect them to the program.

“At Agape Care, part of our mission is to serve patients where they are,” Director of Corporate Affairs for Agape Care Group Krisdee Clark said. “We are excited to be a part of this innovative pilot program which vaccinates homebound patients and their caregivers in South Carolina against COVID-19.”

Hampton and Jasper Counties were selected for this program because they have a relatively high rate of homebound and hospice patients in rural areas. This presents some logistical challenges that, once overcome, will be used as a model for efficiently expanding this service to all counties without limitations to rural communities. Officials say it usually takes two weeks for these individuals to receive their first shot. Nurses will then return 28 days later to administer the second shot.

For the latest COVID-19 vaccine information, visit scdhec.gov/vaxfacts.

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