State health officials say unlicensed home care providers can get vaccinated
After some earlier confusion, state health officials confirmed Tuesday, Jan. 19, that unlicensed individuals who provide in-home health care for homebound elderly or sick people do qualify to receive the novel coronavirus vaccine in the current distribution phase.
“Family members who are caring for folks at home who are homebound do actually qualify,” Summit County Public Health Director Amy Wineland said Tuesday after getting clarification from the state.
Wineland said she misspoke in a public meeting last week by saying “unlicensed care providers” are not included in the state’s current vaccination prioritization group. Wineland was responding to a woman who asked whether she would qualify for the vaccine because she is the daily care provider for her 84-year-old mother.
Wineland said Tuesday that the county is working with local vaccine distribution partners, like pharmacies, to update the attestation documentation people sign declaring how they are eligible to receive a vaccine per the state’s rules.
Colorado State Joint Information Center officials wrote in an email Tuesday that “there has been some confusion” during the current phase of the vaccine rollout specific to vaccination availability to caregivers who do not require licensure. The state officials said that confusion stemmed from how different agencies might use the term “home care workers” to describe various in-home assistance for people who are aging or have disabilities.
State officials said Colorado is using a definition for home care workers that includes licensed and unlicensed workers, such as family caregivers, privately paid caregivers, and private insurance and Medicare funded caregivers.
State officials also said a guidance letter went out this past weekend to vaccine providers with additional information about what details a provider can request from people seeking vaccinations.
“The goal is to stop the spread, so vaccinating people coming in and out of more vulnerable people’s homes is just as (if not more) impactful than vaccinating the vulnerable people themselves,” state officials wrote in an email. “Many of these caregivers work for multiple clients, go to grocery stores and pharmacies for their clients, and may have more exposure to higher-risk settings as a result.”
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