CJC vaccinates homebound residents

By Mike Genet mike.genet@examiner.net
The Examiner

While some people continue to wait for appointments for a COVID-19 vaccination, homebound people have been waiting for a chance, knowing it would be difficult for them to travel.

Firefighter/parademics from the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District have started to reach those citizens in their service area. CJC works with the Mid-America Regional Council’s Aging and Adult Services to identify people who would have difficulty with mobility and leaving their home and want the vaccine, and the Jackson County Health Department supplies the vaccine. 

Karen Johnston getts her vaccine shot.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services designated MARC to oversee this particular priority in the area, and the vaccines don’t count against the state’s regular allotments from the federal government. The CJC District includes most of Blue Springs and Grain Valley, adjacent unincorporated areas and Lake Tapawingo.

Chip Portz, CJC assistant chief, said this vaccination effort is a natural extension of the fire district’s risk reduction and the CJCares program – a community outreach prevention model meant to reduce non-emergency medical calls.

“Right now, one of the biggest risks obviously is COVID, so this is really outside our scope,” Portz said.

Employees traveled to five homes Friday, giving the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, and Portz said about 100 potential people have been reported to them. MARC has identified about 1,800 potential recipients on the Missouri side of the metro area thus far, he said, with a majority of those in Kansas City.

However, Portz said, “I think there are many more people that would qualify.”

The initial response Friday, he said, was “fantastic,” including 84-year-old Karen Johnston, who most times is in a wheelchair. She and her son both received the shot.

Portz said this vaccination effort doesn’t detract from normal services or the budget, as there are no calls for ambulances, and any expenses are reimbursable.

Central Jackson County personnel have been active with large-scale vaccination clinics prior to Friday, including a couple employees regularly at John Knox Village in Lee’s Summit. On Tuesday, they return to Vesper Hall senior center in Blue Springs to administer second doses.

Citizens with significant mobility issues, and their caregivers, can call the MARC Aging and Adult Services vaccination registration helpline at 816-421-4980 to set up a vaccination visit.

“Our goal is to get anybody that would qualify to call that number,” Portz said.