Pittsburgh woman working to help homebound people access to COVID-19 vaccines

PITTSBURGH — A Pittsburgh woman has taken it upon herself to make sure all of Pittsburgh is vaccinated. Now, she’s on another mission. This time she’s advocating for those who are homebound.

The trip to the closest mass vaccination site is all but impossible for homebound people. They may be wired to an oxygen tank, have severe mobility issues or just be too sick to leave their home. Whatever the reason, they’re unable to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

But then came a stroke of luck by the name of Leighann Bacher.

“So many people asking us, hey how can I get my homebound relative vaccinated, and I was sick of telling them I have no idea,” Bacher explained. “So, I’m in touch with a bunch of providers; I’m going to reach out to them. I was overwhelmed by how many said, yeah, I’m on board; let’s do it.”

Bacher started a Facebook group called “Getting Pittsburgh vaccinated.” Her mission is to help people struggling to find a vaccine locate one and get it scheduled.

In just two days – with the help of the Midwife Center and Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center – the group’s new initiative has already set up six in-home vaccine appointments and has several more scheduled for this week.

“The people submit their information to us,” Bacher detailed. “We reach out to the provider who is closest to them, and we ask them if they would be able to do this for them. If they say yes, then we help them schedule. If they are not able to do it, the Midwife Center takes over, and they plan out routes for in-home vaccinations.”

Most of the homebound people had given up hope of getting the vaccine. Now, they’ll be able to have loved ones and friends visit once again.

“Learning these people’s stories and hearing from so many people, ‘I need help,’ it pulls at your heartstrings and you can’t help but be invested when you’ve already helped this many people,” Bacher said.

To request a home vaccination, you can call Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center at (412) 918-0631 and they will coordinate with Bacher. Additionally, you can also submit an online form by clicking here or make an appointment via email by clicking here.