Community Paramedicine: Homebound COVID-19 Vaccinations

Jun 24, 2021

Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance is proud to be one of the few ambulance services in Monroe County to participate in homebound COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Our corps received approval from the NYS Department of Health to provide Community Paramedicine services in Monroe County. With this approval, PVA has partnered with the Monroe County Department of Public Health, the Finger Lakes Vaccine Hub, the Casswood Group, the UR Medical CenterRochester Regional HealthMonroe AmbulanceNortheast Quadrant Advanced Life SupportCHS Mobile Integrated Health, and other stakeholders.

Our multilateral team has worked hard to identify homebound individuals throughout the Monroe County area, and to reach out to identify who within this vulnerable population needs COVID-19 vaccination. As a result of this exceptional effort, PVA has been vaccinating qualifying residents within the PittsfordPerintonPenfield, and East Rochester communities. Our vaccination efforts have been ongoing since May, and appointments are scheduled throughout June 2021. We hope to continue this initiative throughout the summer and for as long thereafter as there is support and local interest.

This initiative is a major success for our communities, and the local EMS and public health systems. PVA and our EMS partners are perfectly positioned to be community vaccinators; we routinely meet people in their homes.

Vaccination of those who are most vulnerable, and those who lack regular access to medical services is critical to the health and safety of our community. While not a traditional “emergency” response, the focus on public health and community safety fits well within our mission.

Paramedics and EMTs from PVA have been actively engaged in many COVID-related initiatives, including COVID testing and vaccination in established clinics. Our local effort is a continuation of this work.

Use of Community Paramedics for non-emergent (homebound) care is approved in many nations, and a few states within the US. In New York State, Community Paramedicine is currently approved for temporary use, as a mechanism to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are excited and proud to be part of this exceptional effort and hope to use our experience to enhance the quality of life within our communities, and influence the utilization of EMS services in support of future public health and public safety initiatives.

If you are homebound or know anyone who is homebound and need to schedule a vaccine appointment, call the Monroe County COVID-19 hotline at (585)-753-5555, or call 2-1-1.

Our Paramedics that have been working within the local communities to deliver vaccine: (from left to right) Paramedic Jesse Merdak, Operations Captain; Paramedic Brian Bartolick, Deputy Chief of Clinical Care; Paramedic Jonathan Smith, Chief of Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance. Not pictured: Paramedic Rebecca Searchfield, Operations Captain; Paramedic Christopher Grassmann