Program reaches vulnerable seniors throughout the county with free at-home COVID vaccinations and testing
Phelps Hospital, Northwell Health and the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps (OVAC) announced a joint partnership providing free Covid-19 vaccinations and testing to Westchester residents. In addition to offering these services at the OVAC building and at pop-up sites throughout the county, the Community Paramedicine Program is also assisting some of the county’s most vulnerable residents by making visits to homebound seniors.
The Community Paramedicine Program was developed in response to the ongoing pandemic and its impact on local residents, especially seniors unable to travel to vaccination sites. Volunteers at the OVAC were trained and certified to administer Covid vaccinations and testing, with the goal of expanding to seasonal flu vaccinations in the near future.
“When the pandemic hit our area, our dedicated members looked for innovative ways to connect and reach those that needed extra help,” said OVAC EMS Director Nick Franzoso. “The Community Paramedicine Program has enhanced our delivery of care to the communities we serve – and it was through our partnership with Phelps Hospital that allowed us the ability to develop this program and have it become so successful.”
The Phelps Department of Emergency Medicine’s relationship with OVAC dates back to the 1960s. Today, their joint efforts have resulted in more than 5,300 Covid vaccines and 3,400 tests administered through the program. The partnership also extends beyond the ambulance corps’ typical service area, reaching residents across all of Westchester with home visits and pop-up sites at various community organizations and local events.
“The OVAC/Phelps Hospital Community Paramedicine Program provides Covid vaccinations at the homes of vulnerable seniors, which can be lifesaving,” noted Dr. Emil Nigro, OVAC Medical Director and Physician Advisor & President of the Phelps Hospital Medical Staff. “It’s another first in Westchester County!”
Covid vaccinations are available in the Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps building on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the end of December. All vaccination types are currently offered: Pfizer-BioNTech (ages 5-11 and 12+), Moderna (ages 18+) and Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+). This includes booster shots of the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine for all adults 18 and older who completed the primary series at least 6 months ago, or 2 months for Johnson & Johnson.
Vaccines for the Community Paramedicine Program are provided directly from either the Westchester County Department of Health, Or NYS Department of Health. New York State supplies all Antigen Covid testing kits and has supplied Molecular test kits until October 2021. Through a partnership with the Town of Ossining, OVAC is now able to offer Covid Molecular testing free of charge to the community.
The Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps is located at 8 Clinton Avenue in Ossining, N.Y. Appointments may be booked online for both Covid vaccines and testing by visiting www.ossiningvac.org. Home vaccinations and testing can be scheduled for those unable to travel by contacting 914-941-9196 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to vaccinations, free testing, both rapid antigen and a rapid molecular NAAT, is available on Mondays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment.