PEARL RIVER, La. — For months we've been telling you where to go to get vaccinated, but some people have a hard time getting to the vaccine sites.
So now the Louisiana Health Department is making sure that no one is left out, by delivering home vaccines, and you can sign up for one.
Critical care paramedic Shannon Gerlinger is doing the job she loves with Acadian Ambulance, taking care of people, especially the silver generation.
And for the first time in her 30-year career, her job includes fighting a pandemic. Today, she is bringing a COVID vaccine to Rita Williams in Pearl River.
“I don't visit nobody because I don't know who has the COVID or not and I couldn't afford to catch the COVID,” said Rita Williams.
Miss Rita is 70 and on oxygen. She needs breathing treatments for COPD and bronchitis. Catching COVID would be dangerous, so she contacted the Louisiana Department of Health hotline to schedule a home vaccine. And what makes that simple phone call a real act of courage is her serious fear of needles.
“When they say school shot, I was gone. Catch me. I was gone,” Williams said with a wave good-bye. “I don't even like to sew with a needle,” she laughed.
She was not kidding about that fear but faced it head-on.
“All done. All done Miss Rita. You did good. All done. See, I'm going to give you a bright yellow BAND-AID,” Gerlinger and I chime in for comfort.
And even though her eyes watered some, she was fine.
“No, it didn't hurt. I'm just scared of a needle,” she reminds everyone.
And she was grateful like so many others are.
“A lot of them are very thankful, especially the elderly, otherwise they can't get out to get it. And they're worried about getting sick, like they can't see their kids and stuff like that, their grandkids,” said Gerlinger.
“It's just been a blessing to not only the people we're able to bring these medications to, but also for us,” said Dwain Meche, Community Relations Supervisor of Acadian Ambulance, about their role serving the community.
“Yeah, real big help, because I would have to find a ride and I would have to, I would have to call the ambulance or something to take me,” said Williams if she didn’t have this service.
And in two weeks with maximum immunity, Miss Rita and Chihuahua Rocky, can leave home without fear and face the world outside.
So far the health department has given around 200 home vaccines in Louisiana.
If you need to schedule a home vaccine the toll-free number is 1-855-453-0774.