Durham Pharmacy provides COVID-19 vaccines to people who are homebound

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Despite being eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine for months, Margaret Gradison had trouble finding a provider to assist her 91-year-old mother, Helen.

"She is a sparky, humorous fun person, full of life. But unfortunately, physically, she has some challenges and is bedridden," Gradison said.

Gradison, a family physician, is fully vaccinated, but many other family members are not.

"It has been over a year (since they've seen her in person). And we do Zoom and Facetime so she could see them, but that's not the same as someone coming over," Gradison said.

While vaccine supply issues have been largely addressed during the past few weeks, connecting with a provider who can administer a shot at her mother's home was difficult.

"I reached out to many groups to see if I could get a vaccine for her. And no one was doing home visits," Gradison said.

She was finally able to find Central Pharmacy in Durham, which went to her mother's home Wednesday morning.

"(My mom) was thrilled when I came in this morning to tell her she was getting the shot," Gradison said.

Pharmacist Chadarryl Clay made 11 stops across the Triangle on Wednesday, administering vaccines.

"After giving the shot, depending on the person's state, I have to wait at least a minimum of 15 minutes but if they do have some type of history where they had a reaction to a medication, we do typically hang around for about 30 minutes just to make sure everything's good before we walk out the door. But again, it's something that we love to do," Clay said.

That extra time can also ease safety concerns for patients and families.

"It's a more personable experience where I am here in the home and they're my sole focus at the time. I don't have to worry about (being) inside the pharmacy and other patients coming in, or the phone ringing," Clay said.

Initially, the plan was to provide the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. However, the FDA and CDC's recommendation to pause its use forced the pharmacy to switch to the Moderna vaccine, meaning another trip will be necessary to give the second dose.

"It definitely puts more work on us as a staff in the sense of scheduling purposes, because we do need to make sure we get people scheduled for that second shot," Clay said. " And life happens, things come up to where some people may not be able to (meet) on that exact date we need them to to receive that second dose."

Gradison is grateful her mother is able to get any vaccine version.

"What this says to me is after her second shot, I will feel much more comfortable with family members coming to visit. They live all over the country and sometimes have to be on airplanes to get here. And I will feel much more comforted that she won't get COVID then," Gradison said.

If you or a loved one are unable to leave the home and would like a COVID-19 vaccine, contact Central Pharmacy at (919) 220-5121.
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