NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Right now, there’s no system in place for homebound seniors on Long Island to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

So, local medical initiatives are springing up to bring vaccines door-to-door, CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Thursday.

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Dr. Karen Abrashkin is medical director of Northwell Health’s house call team.

The medical team maps out routes to reach a cluster of homes in the same vicinity. They screen for patients over the phone before arriving at their front doors.

It’s a race against the clock to get to homebound patients. Vials of COVID vaccine are kept cold in car freezers. Once opened, there are six hours before they spoil.


101-year-old Esther Cohen, who loves Broadway and the arts, is too frail to go to a clinic or queue-up at a vaccination site.

“I haven’t been out since the beginning of this… I’m very fortunate that I’m able to talk to my children,” said Cohen. “I water my plants and find something to do. Lonely, but not that bad, really.”

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At least 2 million Americans are homebound. There is no central registry, so it’s more difficult to find and reach those who are geographically dispersed and isolated.

Renee Sloan, 95, a retired New York City school teacher, is passionate about golf and bridge.

“I’m looking forward to meet my friends to play cards and just to socialize with them,” Sloan said. “It was wonderful. I just wanted to get it for the rest of my family.”


Cohen is also effusive, never dreaming this day would come.

“I told my children, I said, ‘I love Dr. Abrashkin. I really do,'” Cohen said.

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Northwell Health’s house call team cares for patients on Long Island, in Queens and Manhattan.

Jennifer McLogan