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Homebound seniors have difficulty getting access to COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 4:52 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 20:28:02-05

JUPITER, Fla. — Seniors first is the promise that Gov. Ron DeSantis has made to get COVID-19 vaccinations out to as many people over the age of 65 as possible.

But homebound seniors living in their private residences are at a disadvantage.

Mobile Healthcare Solutions, LLC said that because they are not living in assisted living facilities or senior communities, right now they don’t have the same access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Audio books and puzzles keep 86-year-old Leslie Plump and his wife, 85-year-old Ruthye Plump busy these days.

They don’t leave the house, and when family comes over, there's no contact.

"They get here, they stay masked, they sit outside. We open up the big sliding doors in the back and we sit inside. No hugs. It rains, it rains on them not us," Leslie Plump said.

Leslie Plump, a former New York lawyer, and Ruthye Plump, a teacher, both retired in Abacoa 18 years ago.

All of their health care needs are now met at home, except, they don’t have access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

"Leslie has MS so he cannot walk," Ruthye Plump said. "He needs help just moving around and this chair is his best place to be, so there’s just no way we can stand in line."

Assisted living centers were among the first to receive doses, but the Plumps feel homebound seniors have been forgotten.

"Think they’ve done the job for people our age, but this is not true. There are so many of us aging at home because that’s our choice," Ruthye Plump said.

The Plumps have multiple caretakers, respiratory therapists, and nurses who enter their home every day and provide care.

"Ir's frustrating because, again, it creates, our homebound patients are just put to the side and I don’t think there’s enough awareness," said Christina Brooks, the Plump’s nurse practitioner with Mobile Healthcare Solutions, LLC.

Brooks said the company is registered with Florida shots and ready to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, but they’re not available.

"Right now in Palm Beach County, we’re a little disadvantaged right now because the governor sent most of our vaccines to Publix," U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida, said.

Rep. Frankel said private health care providers will get the vaccines, but she added the issue nationally is supply.

DeSantis announced on Monday that 1,500 doses of the vaccine will be set aside for homebound seniors this week, but how those doses will get distributed is still unclear.