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Vaccines for homebound seniors

Golden Living

Tens of thousands of Dutchess County seniors have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but a key task remains — getting the vaccine to seniors who, because of disability or frailty, cannot get to a traditional vaccine site, pop-up clinic or doctor’s office. 

Here’s the challenge being met by the Office for the Aging (OFA) and our public health nurses who administer the vaccine to homebound seniors: All the vaccines being used come in multi-dose vials. Once a vial of vaccine is opened, there’s only a short window before the entire vial is spoiled, about two hours in most cases. Accounting for the 15 minutes we wait with a senior after each shot is administered, plus travel time between seniors’ homes, keeping spoiled vaccine to a minimum requires a mix of pinpoint planning, proximity… and good luck on the roads. We’re happy to report we’ve been maximizing our opportunities to immunize Dutchess County seniors against this potentially deadly virus.

Vaccinating homebound seniors is necessarily more time-consuming than a trip to a vaccination site, so we continue to encourage seniors who are able to travel to a vaccine site to continue using that option when available. Ultimately, this is the way we’ll get the vaccine fastest to all Dutchess County seniors for whom it’s recommended.

If you’re 60-plus and still need vaccination, or if you have questions about the vaccination process, we’re here to listen and help you protect yourself and the people close to you. Please contact the Office for the Aging at 845-486-2555 or ofa@dutchessny.gov.

In-person senior events returning in 2021?

“We hope so” is the short answer to the question Dutchess County seniors have asked us about the Office for the Aging’s many programs aimed at improving seniors’ social engagement: the county’s eight Senior Friendship Centers, events like the Senior Prom, and many more — including our annual Senior Picnic program.

The 2021 Senior Picnic season will remain in drive-thru format, but we’re keeping our eyes on opportunities for more in-person contact. At any picnic venue where there’s sufficient parking and outdoor seating, there will be an option available for seniors to remain on-site with their to-go meals. If you have questions for OFA staff, it’s a lot easier to ask when you’re seated at a picnic table instead of in a car.

The full picnic schedule is at www.dutchessny.gov/OFApicnics.

If you’re a senior who hasn’t saved your place at a Senior Picnic, call the Office for the Aging to arrange a pick-up time. We mail out save-the-date reminder cards a few weeks before each picnic, but you can make a reservation without having a card.

For seniors who like the physical safety of the drive-thru format, we’re exploring the possibility of keeping a grab-n-go option for the 2022 season.

 

Golden Living is prepared by the Dutchess County Office for the Aging Director Todd N. Tancredi. He can be reached by phone at 845-486-2555, by email at ofa@dutchessny.gov or via the website at www.dutchessny.gov/aging.

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