Homebound Oceanside senior, Juanita Kear, finally received her COVID-19 vaccine after days of getting the runaround from San Diego County's 211.
“It’s almost like it’s not real because it’s been such a battle for the last few months trying to get one,” she told NBC 7. “I’m happy! I’m very happy!”
NBC 7 first reported the story about Kear, 74, on March 25, when she lamented about calling 211 and getting “the runaround”.
On Saturday, Cal Fire San Diego through Operation Collaboration was able to get Kear vaccinated.
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“They came in, gave me my shot, waited their 15 minutes, said goodbye and left," Kear said. "It’s really a pleasure to be able to say, I have a poke in my arm."
Kear said she is one step closer to be able to hug her family members.
"Now my goal is to hug and I can’t wait, it’s going to be so exciting," she said laughing.
Kear's daughter reached out to NBC 7 after seeing an NBC story about another homebound senior getting his shot to share her mother’s concerns, hoping it will pave the way to a vaccination.
On Friday, eight days after learning Sharp Health would be administering the vaccinations to homebound seniors, Kear’s daughter told NBC 7 nothing had happened.
“She called 211. They tell her, 'Oh, Sharp is taking care of it,'” said Nicole Smith, Kear's daughter. “She called Sharp, gave them her information and they said, 'OK, we’ll have somebody contact you.' Well, it has been a week and nobody has contacted her.”
Smith reached out to NBC 7 who contacted a Sharp spokesperson, who said they aren’t handling Oceanside Vaccinations.
“I am extremely frustrated,” said Smith. "I’m frustrated because the county says that there’s a plan, and really there’s not a plan for somebody who’s up in Oceanside?”
NBC 7 contacted a spokesperson for San Diego County to find out what changed since last week when they announced Sharp Health was handling homebound vaccinations. Michael Workman, with the county, said, “Sharp did agree to help with this program but is focusing on their catchment area”, meaning the area closest to their facilities in the southern half of the county.
Workman said agreements have been reached with Tri-City and Palomar Health to provide homebound people with vaccines in San Diego’s North County. Those contracts have yet to be signed.
Workman on Friday delivered the good news for Kear and her family.
“We have asked Cal Fire to get her vaccination. They have agreed to do hers and a handful of others in that Oceanside area. She will receive a phone call very shortly.”
Through Operation Collaboration Cal Fire San Diego is working to target some of the most vulnerable hard to reach communities throughout the county.