FARMINGTON, Utah — The Davis County Health Department is bringing the COVID-19 vaccine into the living rooms of its residents.
The department has a program that sends a pair of nurses to the homes of senior citizens who are homebound and are unable to get the shot at the mass vaccination site.
“It’s a blessing to go into homes to give them a shot because they have become so lonely,” said Jessica Alsop, a nurse who is the department’s home visitation bureau manager.
So far, the health department has delivered the vaccine to 150 seniors.
Three teams make their rounds to homes three times per week. The nurses stay with each person for at least 15 minutes to make sure the vaccine doesn’t produce any negative side effects.
The program also allows the department to connect people with other types of assistance beyond vaccination.
“When you see someone on their own turf, you have a whole different picture, an idea of what they need,” said Kristy Cottrell, the deputy director of the Davis County Health Department who also oversees the senior services program. “We want them to call senior services to determine what else we can do to keep them safe and independent.”
Saturday, a vaccination team visited an 88-year-old Air Force veteran who is a lifelong Utahn.
The pandemic has isolated older residents who have the highest risk of a severe COVID infection if they contract the virus.
“I have grandkids, but they have been staying away from me as much as they can,” said Gerald Ipsen. “It makes it kind of lonely being here in the house with nobody coming in.”
Ipsen hopes receiving the Pfizer vaccine will allow his life to return to normalcy.
“I never thought I’d see anything like it, and hope never have another deal like it,” he said. “I miss being around people. I’m sure everybody is as tired of it as I am.”
The vaccination team will return to Ipsen's home in several weeks when he is due to receive his second dose of the vaccine. Two weeks following that inoculation, he hopes to be able to spend time with his loved ones without a window or barrier in the way.
The Davis County Health Department plans to continue this program when the age requirement to receive the vaccine is lowered below 70 years old.
Those who are homebound and would like to be added to the health department’s list can call 801-525-5050.