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New initiative aims to get COVID vaccines to those who are homebound and disabled

Meijer and BCBS Michigan want to help get more people vaxxed
Posted at 2:27 PM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-04 18:24:51-04

(WXYZ) — This past spring we introduced you to Fritzi Atkins. The 94-year-old lives in Plymouth, and her family was working around the clock to find the senior a vaccine.

"My wife alone probably 350 calls or more," Terry Atkins, Fritzi's son told us at the time.

While they were finally able to find her a dose through the Wayne County Health Department, it took two months of non-stop phone calls before they “struck gold” in March.

"Things are starting to open up it seems, but definitely it’s been very difficult," said Atkins.

Today, “vaccine hunters,” like Fritizi’s family are a thing of the past. Shots in the US are plentiful. In fact, the opposite is now happening: Health Departments and officials are searching for ways to get these “life-saving” doses into arms. Specifically seniors like Fritzi, who may not have family to take them to a vaccination center and have to rely on caregivers.

This week Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Meijer announced a COVID-19 vaccination campaign to assist homebound people and those with disabilities. Individuals and caregivers can schedule COVID-19 vaccinations by texting “HEALTH” to 75049, a specified code for people with disabilities that requiring possible accommodations within vaccination environments.

"Some people are unable to leave their home to get out to seek care," said Maura Horton of the Care Coach speaking about programs like this new initiative. "They’re the most vulnerable and at-risk population and so we want to make sure that the word is getting out how they can protect themselves as well."

The initiative aims to provide an accessible environment for those with disabilities, as well as transportation if it’s needed.

"We’ve seen a lot of people asking for resources in this areas so we’re trying to spread the word," said Horton, "so that they know that there are options."

In the last week, the US administered just under 1,000,000 vaccines — a 38% drop from the week prior. Experts say that if we stay at this current rate of it will take another six months for 75% of the country to be fully vaccinated.