COVID-19 strike teams vaccinate homebound seniors in New Hanover County

COVID-19 strike teams vaccinate homebound seniors in New Hanover County

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Fatima Vehabovia got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday from the comfort of her own home.

The New Hanover County health department partnered with Wilmington firefighters and New Hanover County firefighters to organize two-person, COVID-19 strike teams to make house calls and ensure homebound seniors have access to the vaccine.

“I’m very happy when you come here because I don’t have a ride. This is a good solution, when you come here,” said Vehabovia.

County workers complied the list of patients based on the New Hanover County Special Needs registry and the Meals on Wheels program. During the home visits, residents receive their vaccine and firefighters can assess their homes for potential safety hazards, including testing and installing smoke alarms.

This effort is something firefighter Cameron Miller says she’s proud to be part of.

“It’s historical. We’ve never done something like this before in the fire department, so it’s real and it’s raw and it’s new and it’s kind of exciting at the same time being that we’re going into peoples homes, we’re providing that service to people in the community and just really says a lot about the service that we’re willing to do within the community,” said Miller.

Firefighters are used to going into homes and saving people, but the pandemic changed what that looks like. One thing that has remained the same, though, is the reason they became firefighters: to help others.

“Especially in this time when everyone is so afraid to even walk out the door, so it’s important to me to come out and help them and give them a little bit of peace of mind that tomorrow’s gonna be okay,” said Wilmington Fire Department master firefighter Daniel Garay.

By the end of the week, 60 home-bound seniors will get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Additional appointments are also expected to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

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