From mass, to mobile, to master bedroom: How nurses are vaccinating homebound patients

By Kathryn Barnes

More than 1,000 Angelenos have gotten their vaccines at home, thanks to nurses who come to them. Photo by Shutterstock.

About 2.5 million people in LA County who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine have not gotten it. Many don’t want to get vaccinated, while others have challenges with access.

Even though the county has transitioned from mass vaccination sites to smaller ones and mobile units in marginalized communities, homebound residents often need more personal care.

To meet that need, nurses with Oxford Health Care in LA have been going to people’s homes, where they’ve administered more than 1,000 vaccinations.

“On some days, I start my days in Santa Monica, go to Culver City, end up in Hollywood, Compton. We hit all of LA County,” says Nicole Landis, a nurse who’s been administering home vaccines through a partnership between LA County, Oxford Health Care, and MaxHealth.

Landis says most people have been too frightened to leave their houses for more than a year. At first, they’re often paranoid about a stranger coming through the door, even though she wears full personal protective equipment.

“Once I let them know I am there to protect them, I am there to make sure that they're getting the health care that they've been missing out on, it breaks them down a little bit,” she says. “Then they open up and talk about how lonely they've been for the last year, or how thankful they are that we're finally given this opportunity to come into their homes so they don't have to leave.”


Nurse Nicole Landis wears a bag of supplies to administer home vaccinations. Photo by Savannah Becker.

Landis typically completes six to eight home visits a day, administering vaccinations to everyone from elderly people with mobility issues to teenagers with special needs.

“The family is so thankful they're getting the protection they need without having to go stand in a CVS line,” she says. “I've heard families tell me how intimidating it could be because people are constantly staring.”

To qualify for an at-home vaccination in LA County, someone must need the aid of another person or medical gear (such as a wheelchair) to leave their home, or their doctor believes that their health could worsen if they leave their home.

You can make an appointment for an in-home vaccination by going to myturn.ca.gov and selecting a home vaccination, or by calling 833-540-0473 and asking for a home vaccination.

Credits

Guests: