On Friday, January 8, 2021,  the MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs announced members of the home-based healthcare worker community were eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1 of the vaccine roll-out. Read announcement here.

Our Partners in the home-health community, who include  home based health care professionals, home care nurses, professional staff, palliative care & hospice clinicians, and who assist  COVID-19 patients and family members face-to-face everyday,  are very excited to hear the news. However, there is concern of how to immediately vaccinate a  large percentage of the 100,000 home health, home care and hospice workers to protect them and their patients as they do their vital community work.

In this challenging time, the Honoring Choices Partners are working together to support all state and community efforts to foster a coordinated positive community response.

Home Care Alliance of MA, an Honoring Choices Alliance Partner, has been working diligently to advocate for its workforce. “Since the December announcement of the COVID vaccine plan”, says Pat Kelleher, Executive Director, “we have been requesting clarification from state officials as to why our COVID treating home health and hospice clinicians were not included in the first part of Phase 1 and I am fielding calls daily from nurses asking the very question.  Several home health agencies have cared for in excess of  500 to 1,000 COVID positive patients at home, yet were excluded from the first wave of phase 1.   This notice does not answer that question of why  and only confirms that homebased care will be at the end of this phase, which as we have seen is going slower than we would have hoped, leaving home care waiting, while still treating COVID.  We have as yet no information about how and where our 100,000 workers will access vaccines.   Some agencies have applied for vaccines, but have yet to receive. We recognize supply is limited, but it is hard to see home health nurses across New England in Phase 1 priority groups, but not in our state.”

If hospitals have extra vaccines, Home Care Alliance is offering to help connect local hospitals with their home-health community agencies to help vaccinate COVID-19 home health staff. Please contact Pat Kelleher directly at 617-482-8830, pkelleher@thinkhomecare.org