WOODHAVEN, Queens — The five boroughs are seeing COVID rates decline after weeks of increases.
It’s in sharp contrast to the nation’s COVID indicators, and city medical leaders have mainly attributed the decreases to vaccinations as well as precautions, including masking and social distancing. They’ve said that an important part of the rise in vaccinations is in-home vaccination visits, which are now available for anyone 12 years old or older, who requests one.
On Friday, PIX11 News was able to observe such a visit, at the invitation of the city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, which coordinates the in-home vaccination program.
At the home of Yu Guanxin, 94, a nurse, nurse’s aide and driver pulled up in front and donned fresh, sterile PPE.
They then entered the home, after being greeted by Kang Yu, the patient’s son, who’d scheduled the appointment.
“Because [of] this delta variant that’s erupted recently,” Kang Yu said, “that makes me very worried.”
“But the city’s going to provide this kind of service” of in-home vaccinations, he continued. “I think it’s incredible.”
After he filled out some simple paperwork, the nurse, Simcha Gulkarov, and the nurse’s assistant, Nia Brunson, administered a dose of Pfizer vaccine in the nonagenarian’s arm.
After the shot, which took about five seconds to administer, the patient’s son asked him how it went.
“Very good,” Yu replied, in his native Mandarin. His son, Kang Yu, translated.
For their part, the medical workers on the team said that they appreciate their job.
“I love that it’s inclusive,” said Brunson, the nurse’s aide. “We can come to any borough and inoculate you in the comfortability of your home.”
They reiterated that age or health condition don’t matter. They will appear at any home that requests them.
Any resident of New York City’s five boroughs, regardless of their legal status, can schedule an in-home appointment.
“We’ve seen a lot of kids anywhere from 12 or 13,” said Gulkarov, “to 102 years old.”
They work for MedRite, a medical provider that the city’s Health and Hospitals corporation has contracted to do in-home shots.
Health and Hospitals has also contracted with medical providers to operate mobile vaccination sites, including two vans that were set up outside of Melba’s, a restaurant in Harlem.
The idea is to increase access, and therefore increase vaccinations.
The biggest increase in recent weeks has been in at-home shots — teams like the one that visited the Yu household make about 175 visits citywide per day.
Vaccination vans, such as the ones set up at Melba’s, tend to have low double-digit numbers of visitors daily, but citywide, those numbers add up. The city’s Health Department has said that more than 10.5 million doses have been administered in the city so far.
At any location where a vaccine is administered, each recipient is eligible to receive one of the $100 debit cards the city is giving out to every newly vaccinated patient.
Kang Yu said that it wasn’t the reason he’d made an appointment for his dad, but that it was still nice to have.
“That caught my eye,” he told PIX11 News. “[So] I said, ‘Why not?'”
Overall, the city is reporting a decrease in infections by seven percent since last week, and a 14 percent drop in hospitalizations from the average a month ago.
That’s a big contrast to the rise in COVID in the rest of the country. Nationally, the level of new COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are the highest they’ve been since late last winter.