Rep. Kelly Leads Letter to Biden Administration Requesting Vaccines for Homebound Population

Congresswoman Robin Kelly. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)
Congresswoman Robin Kelly. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Congresswoman Robin Kelly (IL-02) this week led a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zients requesting that the Biden Administration prioritize plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccinations to homebound people across the United States.

“Many homebound people live with serious health challenges and are at extremely high risk of grave illness or death if infected with COVID-19,” said Congresswoman Robin Kelly, Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust. “While they are not in public, they are exposed through home health providers, family members, and delivery people. We must make sure protecting this vulnerable population is a priority as we continue to develop vaccination plans for the United States.”

There are between 2 million and 4.4 million older adults who are homebound. Many of these adults are above the age of 80 with multiple co-morbidities and cannot leave their homes. Congresswoman Kelly and other members have heard from many Americans who meet the criteria for vaccination and want to receive the vaccine but have no way to access vaccination centers due to their homebound status.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Secretary Becerra and Mr. Jeff Zients,

We write in support of President Biden’s goal to ensure that every adult in the U.S. is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. In order to help facilitate this goal, we must ensure that every willing person in America has fair and equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine. One population that we must not overlook are our citizens who are homebound due to illness and/or disabilities. Due to their medical status, many are at extremely high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying if infected with COVID-19 from exposure by their family members or designated caregivers.

There are between 2 million and 4.4 million older adults who are homebound; many of these adults are above the age of 80 with multiple comorbidities and cannot leave their homes or can only do so with considerable difficulty. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, more than 3.5 million people in this country never leave their homes. Of these, 1.9 million (54 percent) are people with disabilities. About 560,000 of these disabled people indicate they never leave home because of transportation difficulties. We have heard from many citizens who meet the criteria for vaccination and want to receive the vaccine, but live in states and communities that do not have policies or protocols to guide health care providers on how to reach this vulnerable and marginalized population.

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established protocols for vaccination of our homebound citizens. I urge you to ensure that there are personnel and resources dedicated to providing in-home vaccination for our homebound constituents as federal vaccination plans continue to develop. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on many inequities within our healthcare system, and we cannot allow the inequities to continue during this time when we must focus on vaccinating as many people as possible to end this global pandemic.

Thank you for your commitment to a fair and equitable vaccination process that ensures that our most vulnerable citizens have access to the COVID-19 Vaccine. We ask that you advise members of Congress and their staff on the best way to assist your Administration in this effort.

Sincerely,

Congresswoman Robin Kelly
Member of Congress
Chair, CBC Health Braintrust

/s/ Marie Newman Member of Congress
/s/ Jahana Hayes Member of Congress
/s/ Chrissy Houlahan Member of Congress
/s/ Eleanor Holmes Norton Member of Congress
/s/ Thomas R. Suozzi Member of Congress
/s/ Alan Lowenthal Member of Congress
/s/ Jerry McNerney Member of Congress
/s/ André Carson Member of Congress
/s/ Danny K. Davis Member of Congress
/s/ Lisa Blunt Rochester Member of Congress

Full text of the letter is available here.

This is news from Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s office.