Phase 2 of community outreach effort launched last week as firehouse vaccination clinics continue
By ED FINKELSTEIN
A Homebound Vaccination Program — Phase 2 of an effort by area union fire fighter/paramedics to get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of area residents – launched last week in 14 fire protection districts across St. Louis County.
The effort, one of the few programs of its kind across the country to date, is focused on delivering vaccines to county residents with medical conditions that prevent them from leaving their homes to get to a vaccination site.
Fire fighter/paramedics represented by Fire Fighters Local 2665 and Teamsters Local 610 are volunteering time on their days off to provide vaccination clinics at their firehouses and deliver vaccines to the homebound in cooperation with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health (DPH).
The DPH S has been divided St. Louis County into four Regional Vaccine Distribution Centers (RVDC), with five fire protection districts — Pattonville, Eureka, Affton, Mehlville, and Richmond Heights — serving as central points for administrating the homebound vaccination program and firehouse vaccination clinics as follows:
- North (Pattonville FPD): Maryland Heights, Robertson, North County Metro North, Black Jack, Spanish Lake, Mid County, Northeast, Kinloch, Community, Hazelwood, Jennings, Berkeley and Ferguson.
- South (Mehlville FPD): Fenton and Valley Park.
- South East (Affton FPD): Webster Groves, Shrewsbury, Kirkwood, Des Peres, Glendale, Lemay and Crestwood.
- East Central (Richmond Heights FPD): Maplewood Brentwood, Clayton, University City, Olivette, Frontenac, Ladue and Rock Hill.
- West (Eureka FPD): Metro West, West County, Monarch and Creve Coeur.
HOW TO APPLY
Only individuals certified as being confined to their home are eligible for the Homebound Vaccination Program. If you or someone you know is certified as being homebound, you can register for homebound vaccination by phone or email.
The Department of Public health has partnered with area universities to screen and schedule appointments for county residents.
- By phone – Call 314-615-2660 and stay on the line throughout the automated message. An operator will come on the line to determine eligibility and get you registered.
- By Email – You can also email the Department of Public Health to see if you qualify and get registered at email@example.com.
There is no out-of-pocket cost to participate in the program.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Once registered, an appointment will be scheduled and two fire fighter/paramedics will visit the home to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The fire fighter/paramedics will stay with you for 15-30 minutes to ensure individuals have no adverse reactions to the vaccine.
ON-SITE FIRE HOUSE CLINICS CONTINUE
Participating fire protection districts are also continuing on-site vaccination clinics at area fire houses and community centers.
Kevin Stuhlman, assistant chief of the Pattonville Fire Protection District, said hundreds of fire fighter/paramedics, volunteering on their days off, have already administered thousands of shots.
“Union fire fighters are trusted by the public and we are eager to do our part to get shots in arms,” Stuhlman said. “The fire fighter run clinic sites operate very efficiently with a typical visit lasting 20 minutes or less.”
Fire fighter/paramedics complete hours of training and are licensed and certified to provide vaccines and other emergency medical care.
“It’s testimony to the commitment our members have to their communities that they are all volunteering their time to make sure residents are safe, which is an extension of what we do everyday when we go to work,” said Fire Fighters 2nd District Vice President Mark Woolbright. “I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of these men and women. I know their communities feel the same.”
Greg Brown, chief of the Eureka Fire Protection District, said the impact of the vaccine program has been “amazing.”
“In one case, a grandfather had tears in his eyes because he could now hug his grandchildren. He hadn’t been able to do that in over a year,” Brown said. “Knowing they are protected makes them very thankful. The emotional responses are unbelievable.”
St. Louis fire fighters supporting April 7-June 3 vaccine clinic
In support the City of St. Louis’s vaccination efforts, St. Louis Fire Fighters Local 73 has been providing fire fighter/paramedics to get COVID-19 vaccines into arms of city residents at area clinics.
“Our members have been actively supporting current city efforts as requested on a continuing basis,” said Local 73 President Demetris “Al” Alfred.
The City is ramping up its vaccination efforts.
A mass vaccination clinic opened yesterday, April 7, and the Dome at America’s Center and will be continuing for next eight weeks.
Mayor Lyda Krewson said the program is designed to reach those most vulnerable to COVID-19, and those who face economic, transportation, or other barriers to accessing quality health care.
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said St. Louis paramedics/fire fighters will be providing vaccinations throughout the event.
The City will be launching its own homebound vaccination program in the coming days and weeks, he added.
REGISTER FOR CITY PROGRAM
The vaccination clinic at the Dome will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
Eligible St. Louisans can register online covidvaccine.mo.gov/navigator or by calling 877-435-8411.