At 85 years old, neuropathy has confined Rosemarie Kelly to a wheelchair for the last few years of her life, leaving the homebound New Jersey resident to wonder when she might be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Kelly doesn't mind the solitude of being homebound, but that doesn't mean she doesn't want the vaccine. Simply getting to a vaccination site though would nearly be impossible for Kelly.
"I can’t sit in my wheelchair for two or three hours waiting to get my vaccine shot," she explained.
Visits from her kids and trips to her favorite restaurant, Red Robin, have all been put on hold because of the pandemic. Kelly is ready to have the vaccine, she just isn't sure how she'll be able to get it.
But there could be new hope on the horizon for the millions of people like Kelly, who are confined to living at home. Potential approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would open up the door for millions of Americans to get their shot at home.
Dr. Dave Moen with Prospero Health sees the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines as a huge step forward. But he believes potential approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be a game changer on the delivery front.
"It makes it a vaccine that we may be able to administer in the home," Dr. Moen explained via a Zoom interview.
Because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine doesn't need to be refrigerated, it could easily be brought straight to someone's home and administered, a much simpler process than what's currently happening at vaccination sites right now.
Currently, vials of the COVID-19 vaccine have to be kept at incredibly cold temperatures.
"Having different vaccines from different manufactures is an advantage.”
There are more than 45 million adults over the age of 65 in the United States. At least two million of them are considered homebound due to an illness or disability which makes getting office-based health care a major undertaking.
"What we need to do is focus on getting the vaccine who are most vulnerable. Getting this vaccine to people who are frail and homebound is really critical," Dr. Moen said.
On Friday, vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration will meet to discuss whether the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should be authorized for emergency use authorization.