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Operation House Call: getting COVID-19 vaccines to homebound community members

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 6:28 PM MST
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues to swiftly move through El Paso County, but there’s a group of the population who may not be getting their vaccines. Some community members may not be able to leave their homes due to illnesses or mobility discrepancies. The El Paso County Public Health Department and the Colorado Springs Fire Department are working together to bridge that gap by delivering vaccines to people who are homebound.

The sign-up process is easy. The health department is asking people to call 719-374-8313. If you qualify as a homebound citizen, United Way will help set up an appointment for firefighters to bring a vaccine.

Operation House Call allows for the fire department to retrieve vaccines from a local provider and deliver them to people across El Paso County. Usually, the fire department only serves those within the city limits, but because of the partnership with a county entity, they’re allowed to serve the full community.

“We provided some personnel and vehicles to go out and actually help give vaccines to them, so it was really incredible,” said Capt. Don Watkins, CSFD Medical division.

The firefighters’ first stop is to the health department to pick up cold cubes to keep the vaccines at their allotted temperature. From there they head to Matthews-Vu Medical Group to retrieve the shots. The teams drive around the county, usually to more rural parts of the area, to deliver vaccines to those who need them.

“The fact that they were willing to come and to do this, I thought it was an awesome idea,” said Frances DeJarnette. Her 96-year-old mother was on the route our crew followed along on.

The family says Operation House Call was beyond helpful to them.

“Just for me to get her ready and to call the transportation, I have to call them two days in advance. I have to set up the ramp for her to go. I have to use a hoist-up lift to get her out of the bed, to transport her to the hallway to put her in the wheelchair to get her out the door,” said DeJarnette.

Operation House Call is available to anyone who is in the current qualifications for COVID-19 vaccines and is homebound.

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