Health Department offering in-home vaccinations for vulnerable adultsNov 04, 2022 10:15AM ● By Kerry Angelbuer
Michelle Francis, of North Salt Lake, was recently vaccinated at home receiving both a flu and COVID booster shot. Though most people are able to go to their doctor’s office, the local Walgreens, Smith’s Marketplace or vaccination events to receive seasonal vaccinations, Davis County is offering homebound services for those who qualify: 65 or older, unable to drive, immunocompromised, or medically vulnerable.
“Two super nice people came to my home today and I was able to get both my flu and COVID booster shots,” said Francis. “They told me they wish more people knew about this service because they aren’t very busy, but they know there are a lot who could benefit from it.”
Francis made the personal choice to arm herself for the coming virus season, but what are the benefits of getting these boosters? Everyone needs to look at the risks and benefits for themselves and those around them when making this decision.
Generally, flu vaccinations are thought to prevent millions of illnesses each year. If the vaccine is similar to the circulating flu virus, illness could be reduced by half. Flu illness occurs in 9-40 million people yearly, so that decrease represents avoiding a huge amount of suffering. Since 2010, approximately 12,000 to 52,000 people die of the flu each year.
COVID on the other hand resulted in the largest jump in mortality in the USA in 100 years. While the number of deaths rose by less than 1 percent from 2020-2021, it rose by over 19 percent in the following two years. The COVID vaccination lowered deaths as it was released and allowed the nation to come out of lock down. Since vaccination began, new COVID variants like Delta and Omicron have resulted in surges of deaths highlighting the need for boosters. A booster is available this fall that will hopefully curtail the virus this winter. Generally, the COVID vaccination protects recipients from serious illness, and also protects people around them. For high-risk individual over 50 who are admitted to the hospital for COVID not being vaccinated can make death 12 times more likely than in vaccinated patients. Each booster enhances protection. While nearly half a million people died of COVID in 2021, only half that number succumbed the following year in the United States. The positive effect of vaccinations looks good on a graph.
The choice to get a vaccine should be based on personal risk and the risk to those around you. If you are older or often interact with older individuals, the need for vaccination is stronger. If sensitive or reactive to past vaccinations, maybe choosing to mask in public when ill, washing hands often, and avoiding large gatherings may be an alternate personal choice.
The riskiest months for viral infection are December, January, and February possibly due to cold weather forcing people indoors where viruses can transmit easily. Low Vitamin D from lack of Sun exposure can also weaken the immune system during these cold months. If one good thing has come out of the pandemic, it is the knowledge that it is sometimes better to stay at home and use online options to complete work and school when you are ill or many viruses are spreading around your groups.
To set up appointments for in-home vaccinations, call 801-525-5020.