The Morris County Homebound COVID-19 Vaccination Program has reached more than half of the 800 residents targeted in a special outreach effort since April to find, contact and inoculate people who may not be able to leave their homes.
“These are people whose names came to us either through nutritional programs, or local public health officials and senior groups as people who we need to reach," Program Coordinator Karl Klingener said. "We find that some on the list already had the vaccination, don’t want it or moved as we try to contact everyone.”
He and two nurses with Atlantic Health System knocked off ten more names from their list today as they provided inoculations to ten residents of Denville, including seven at Cook’s Pond Senior Housing.
They were joined by Morris County Commissioner Deputy Director Deborah Smith, Commissioner John Krickus and Denville Mayor Tom Andes, who observed the vaccinations and spoke to the residents.
“Thank you for doing this,” said 84-year-old Trudy Welch, a Cook’s Pond resident, as she waited for her vaccine in the lobby of Cook’s Pond.
“This is an important program because we are trying to reach people who cannot leave their homes or who may need assistance getting to our Morris County COVID-19 Vaccination Center or some other facility to receive the vaccine," Commissioner Smith said. "We are ending a year-long isolation for many of them because many could not visit with family or friends.”
The visit unfolded as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data showing 78 percent of Morris County residents who are 65 years or older are fully vaccinated.
“Morris County vaccinations lead the state. We have already exceeded the Governor’s goal of getting 70 percent of our adult population with a least one shot,” Commissioner Krickus said. “COVID cases here have dropped to a seven-day, daily average of 65 compared to 234 just a month ago when only 27 percent of adults were fully vaccinated.”
The Morris County Homebound COVID-19 Vaccination Program is dependent on the J&J single-shot, vaccine.
The effort to reach homebound people stalled when questions arose last month on the safety of the vaccine, but the program resumed last week when federal authorities cleared the continued use of J&J.
Klingener said that as the program works through its target list, which includes the names of people identified through public assistance organizations, they want the public to help identify anyone else who is homebound who may need a vaccination.
The Morris County Aging & Disability Resource Connection: 973-285-6848 The Morris County Homebound COVID-19 Vaccination Program: 973-326-7828