Ennis CARES Team administers in-home vaccine to disabled persons
On Monday morning, the Ennis CARES team coordinated with the Meals on Wheels Team and loaded up to distribute in-home COVID-19 vaccinations for homebound and disabled persons residing in the city of Ennis.
"Christen Vick, our Ennis CARES coordinator has been leading the effort," shared Ashley Colunga, marketing and communications director for the city of Ennis.
The Ennis CARES team was organized last year, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.
"Our city leaders and administrators saw a need in the beginning of the pandemic and set up a call center. Just a non emergency line where people could call if they needed assistance," Vick said. "So this was for financial assistance with utility bills, things like that. To assist with running errands and picking up prescriptions. Any non-emergency need, whatever that was. Whether they needed someone to play with them, talk to them ... So they set up the Bluebonnet Call Center."
Ennis CARES then emerged from the need at the call center.
"Ennis CARES is basically so we can love and care for our community. We were noticing that there were people, elderly people concerned and homebound about how they were going to get the vaccine, and even though they didn’t leave their home, they really felt like they needed that," Vick said. "Through Ennis CARES, whenever we see a need, we try to address it. So we worked with Meals on Wheels, and they gave us a list of their people that are homebound, so we started with that. And then from there it’s just kind of grown."
The initial stage of in-home appointments was scheduled through the local Meals on Wheels affiliate.
"They (Meals on Wheels) helped us identify homebound persons in need of vaccination. We have also published the phone number to register in the local paper and on social media and are hoping to continue to spread the word to get more people registered and scheduled," shared Colunga.
The team headed to Ennis Regional Hospital on Monday morning and began a full day of 40-minute appointments. They vaccinated a total of 12 residents.
The act of vaccinating homebound residents was originally only accessible to those residing in the city of Ennis but has expanded since Monday evening.
"Ellis County Management services I guess contacted our city manager yesterday and was like, 'Hey, we know you took all of Meals on Wheels for all of the county and you’re doing Ennis ... Would y’all be able to provide this service to residents all over Ellis County?' and so we’ve agreed to do that," Vick said. "So we’re just going to continue serving all of Ellis County for people that are homebound but not able to go to HUB and somewhere else to get a vaccine or to the doctor. Just making sure that everyone who wants the vaccine has the opportunity to get it, and we’re just trying to make it easier on our homebound."
Although Vick is unaware of how long the team will be distributing vaccinations for homebound residents, Ennis CARES is still taking requests throughout Ellis County.
“We’ve got the fire department and police department are on board, that are willing to step in if we’re going to add a team if this continues and grows," Vick said.
Those who have experienced care from Ennis CARE have expressed their gratitude for the organization, according to Vick.
"Just so thankful and gracious. We’ve had people cry and we’ve been referred to as saints. They’re like, ‘I wouldn’t have been able to have this.' Some people don’t have family members to take them places who can’t drive ... It’s been great and very rewarding for us. We’ve just been very blessed just being a part of the whole vaccination team," Vick shared.
Ennis residents can register to sign-up by calling (972)-695-3524 .