Homebound seniors get vaccine access with PACE program

PACE provides medical and social services to the elderly who need help by giving them transportation and a place to go so they can still remain living at home. 

Now the effort is on to bet the more than 1,000 seniors in this program vaccinated. Donna Emch of PACE joins us to talk about it.

FOX 2: "The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is big news." 

"That's another opportunity to provide vaccinations for our participants," she said. "I think the more opportunities we have, to get our participants vaccinated, the better. Especially for our participants in southeast Michigan. We take care of very vulnerable seniors with complex medical issues, so this is critical."

FOX 2: "This blitz of vaccinations has been pretty extraordinary.  The goal is to have 1,000 PACE participants vaccinated. How is it going?"

"We were very fortunate because our participants, many of them have transportation issues which we provide and they have mobility issues. So we had to come up with a creative strategy in order to provide vaccination opportunity to that," Emch said.  "So we were able to partner with Henry Ford and they provided the vaccine and staff to vaccinate our participants and then we, our team, consisting of frontline staff, clinicians, providers, leaders, came together to set up mass vaccination clinics at our centers. So, we were able to bring the participants to the center door wonderful transportation team was able to logistically, schedule and get our participants to the centers for the vaccine and get them back home."

FOX 2: "One of the big advantages of taking part in pace is that these elderly folks have a place to go. How will that change because of cover as you wait for everything to get back to normal?

"Obviously the desire is to return back to normal, or whatever the new normal is going to be, and that's going to require getting vaccinated," Emch said. "We have a chief medical officer, that we coordinate with providers, and have lots of discussion about what that's gonna look like in the future. I don't know that we have the answer to that right now we are going to continue to adhere to the guidelines of social distancing, and we will maximize as many participants as we can and the centers within the framework of the guidelines."

FOX 2: "And your partnership with Henry Ford is obviously helping get to that place. Thank you."

>>For more information on PACE, go to http://www.pacesemi.org/