Program vaccinating homebound Virginians resumes, continues pause on J&J vaccine

Evelyn Hall
Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 27, 2021

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond Ambulance Authority has restarted its program to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to those who are home-bound and have difficulty getting vaccinated.

Evelyn Hall received her first dose of the Moderna vaccine inside her south Richmond home on Tuesday.

"I feel fine," Hall said post-vaccine. "I have no unusual feelings other than being surprised."

Hall said that when she signed up on the vaccine waitlist, she was concerned about getting to an appointment due to her mobility issues from a stroke in 2014.

"I had to get a caravan to take me there so I would have to have a day in advance even to get there," Hall said.

"Any opportunity the authority has to do something creative to be able to meet that healthcare need of our community, we're there for it," Bryan McRay, Richmond Ambulance Authority's Director of Safety and Risk Management said.

The program was started using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because its storage requirements and single-dose nature make it easier for the program to administer.

However, the program began on April 12, the day before the FDA, CDC and VDH hit pause on the J&J vaccine to investigate the rare but serious blood clot issue. The pause on administering the vaccine was lifted Friday.

Despite the lift on the vaccine's administration, the ambulance authority said they resumed their services this week but will be using the two-dose Moderna vaccine for the time being. The Richmond Health District will make the final call on the J&J vaccine.

"I think rewarding is the fact that it's nice to be able to go into somebody's home that's not a 911 emergency," McRay said. "The folks that we've done so far are incredibly appreciative of us taking that extra step and, you know, we certainly appreciate the Health District giving us the opportunity to do that. As far as challenges, you know, challenges are easy around here. I guess just something we normally do."

The accessibility to the vaccine is something Hall appreciates as she's looking forward to the day she's fully vaccinated.

"Family, being able to gather and going to church," Hall said. "We embrace and hug and these things we wasn't able to do."

The Richmond and Henrico Health District also has its own mobile vaccine team doing similar work within the two districts. Officials say that between the programs, 110 people have been vaccinated so far.

Anyone interested in the program can call the Richmond Henrico Hotline on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 804-205-3501.

Mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Richmond Raceway.

Virginians age 16+ now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Register on the Vaccinate Virginia website or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343). You can search for specific vaccines as well as which are available near you via the Vaccine Finder website.

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COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

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These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.

Click here for more information from the Virginia Department of Health.