INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) — It is estimated that 2 million people in the United States are unable to leave their home. The Homebound Hoosier Program was created to help vaccinate this population in Indiana.
“The Homebound Hoosier Program is designed to get COVID-19 vaccine to Hoosiers that would otherwise not have access to this lifesaving treatment,” said Stephen Cox, executive director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
The program helps to match available vaccine from local health departments with homebound individuals in the service area. Cox said that the program utilizes local EMS and fire agencies in local communities to deliver and administer the vaccine by bringing it directly to homebound individuals.
“The EMS system is the perfect partner for this program because it operates 24/7 across Indiana,” said Dr. Michael Kaufmann, medical director for Indiana EMS. “EMS personnel are highly trained members of the community and can serve an important role in reaching this critical population of Hoosiers.”
As of Wednesday, the state Department of Homeland Security said more than 1,200 Indiana residents have been registered in the Homebound Hoosiers portal.
Homebound Hoosiers are identified by the FSSA Local Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) and are entered into a secure, cloud-based portal, according to Cox. In order to receive a vaccine, homebound Hoosiers must also meet the eligibility requirements laid out by the Indiana Department of Health.
“As vaccine doses becomes available from the local health departments through appointment cancelations, no-shows or what might be considered extra doses, they’re matched with a recipient on the list,” Cox said.
When a dose becomes available, area EMS agencies obtain the vaccine and bring the vaccine directly to the homebound individual to be adminsitered.
“As vaccine supplies continue to improve, we anticipate the program will expand and ultimately be able to reach more homebound individuals,” Cox said.
Cox added that the Homebound Hoosier Program has been getting recognition across the country, and has been shared with numerous agencies so other state can mimic the program.
“This partnership to vaccinate the homebound population is another community solution to an important gap we’ve identified along this journey,” said Dr. Jennifer Sullivan, secretary for FSSA.
To register, contact your area Indiana Area Agency on Aging at 800-986-3505 or visit the Indiana Association of Area Agencies on Aging’s website to get on the list.
This program is a collaboration between the Indiana Family Social Services Administration (FSSA), the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the Indiana Department of Health, local health departments, local fire and EMS provider agencies as well as numerous other key stakeholders.