Programs working to reach North Texas seniors who can't visit COVID-19 vaccination sites

State health leaders are now teaming up with programs like Meals on Wheels to reach seniors who can't get to vaccination sites.

The state health department said nearly 47% of Texans 65 years and older have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The hope is in-home vaccination programs for seniors will help bolster the numbers.

Some much-needed hope is being transported in a simple Styrofoam cooler.

The Visiting Nurse Association of Texas is teaming up with the state and first responders to administer COVID-19 vaccines to homebound Meals on Wheels clients.

"The fact that we're able to visit these folks in their home and give the coronavirus vaccine is great. Sure it's a slow process, but it's worth every step," said Chris Culak, with VNA of Texas.

The pilot program is in partnership with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, and it started three weeks ago.

There were 26 homebound seniors who were vaccinated before the winter storm forced a temporary pause.

On Friday, another 40 seniors living in DeSoto and Cedar Hill got the first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

"I do really appreciate them coming into my home to do this, it makes it easier," Charla Welcome said.

"Since I got bone cancer, of course I want the shot," Vernia Lewis Hoppert said. "I can't have company or nothing. It's just bad, and it's been over a year.

In a few weeks, the seniors will get their second shot.

The in-home vaccination program will be expanded throughout Dallas County.

How quickly depends on how many doses are provided to the TDEM by the state health department.

At The Bentley retirement community in Dallas, seniors had the opportunity to get the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine Friday.

"I think it's a great deal, the one shot for people who would have trouble coming back for that second shot," Linda Perry said.

Friday’s clinic was organized by the facility for its residents, and the vaccine was administered to them through Valley View Pharmacy.

Residents said it was much easier than trying to get to one of the larger vaccination hubs.

They're grateful for the help.

"Oh I'm tickled to death. At my age, I'm lucky to be alive," Howard Burns said. "It's got to be better, no question."

"We were beginning to wonder if we were going to be left out, but we were not and I'm really happy about it," Jules Bovis said.