SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Somerset County Department of Health (SCDoH) today sent vaccination teams to the homes of residents who for medical or other reasons are unable to travel to the county’s clinics or other providers to receive their COVID-19 vaccine.
The nurse-led teams are initially vaccinating homebound residents in Somerville, Raritan and Manville this week and will then move to additional municipalities.
“We are thrilled to finally be receiving increased allocations of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine so we can continue our efforts to ensure Somerset County’s most vulnerable residents are protected against COVID,” said Somerset County Commissioner Deputy Director Sara Sooy, who accompanied one of the teams to teams to visit Maria Page of Manville. “We’ve been preparing for this day for two months and are looking forward to continued expansion of our vaccination program as allotments increase in the coming weeks.”
The SCDoH began compiling a list of homebound residents in February by consulting local Offices of Emergency Management, medical providers, and human services programs such as the county’s own Meals on Wheels service; the list reflects approximately 550 residents, and the County is planning to visit 150 homes each week until the list is completed. The County is also partnering with the Community Visiting Nurses Association in Somerville and the Montgomery Department of Health to reach additional residents on the homebound vaccination waiting list.
Vaccinating the homebound is time-consuming because of travel times between residences, and the need for the nurse to wait 15 to 30 minutes after vaccination to respond in the unlikely event of a reaction to the vaccine. The teams’ routes will be as geographically grouped as possible to reduce travel time, with the early routes in Somerville and Raritan and then moving out towards the rest of the county.
"Because of the resources and the time necessary to vaccinate people in their homes as compared to a clinic, we continue to ask residents, if possible, to come to one of our clinics or another partner provider to get vaccinated,” Sooy said. “However, we recognize that many of our older and infirmed residents simply cannot travel, and we are committed to protecting them as well.”
The program to vaccinate the homebound is a continuation of the county’s effort to help seniors get access to the COVID-19 vaccine. The SCDoH began holding a weekly “closed POD” vaccination clinic focused on seniors and residents with serious underlying conditions at the Bridgewater Wellness Center in mid-February, and opened its Senior Citizen Vaccination Waiting List to the public in early March.
More than 5,000 residents have signed up for the list, and Somerset County began holding mobile clinics focused on the list in various communities including Somerville, Manville, Bound Brook, North Plainfield and this week in Raritan Borough.
To place a resident on the Homebound or Senior Citizen waiting lists, please call the County COVID Hotline at (908) 231-7155 or use the web form at http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/covidQs.