Grassroots facilities playing their part in new vaccination drive

Updated: Jan 17, 2023 China Daily Print
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Beijing's grassroots community health centers have been making wide-ranging efforts to protect seniors during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition to major hospitals, where critically ill patients are treated, medical institutions in the city-including hospitals at the district level and community health centers — are doing everything they can to stop seniors from contracting the disease.

Late last month, the Beijing Health Commission published a document stating that community clinics should distribute pulse oximeters to seniors (so they could measure their own oxygen levels) and provide oxygen therapy for people in need. It added that health commissions in all districts should conduct surveys of seniors who have existing illnesses and provide grade-based health management to avoid any treatment delays.

Evidence shows that vaccination is still the most effective way of protecting seniors from becoming infected or developing into critical cases.

Thus, many districts have been working on providing good vaccination services.

Liu Ziyan, a nurse in charge of vaccination work in Hujialou subdistrict in Chaoyang district, said there are more than 14,200 residents age 60 and older in the area's 11 residential communities. More than 90 percent of them have had their first vaccination shot, and 80 percent of people in Hujialou age 80 and older have been vaccinated.

"Seniors who need a door-to-door service can make reservations through their family doctors. After medical assessment, mobile vaccination teams will visit to offer the service within a day," Li said.

Li Xiaofeng, a doctor at the Hujialou Second Community Health Service Center, said there is no difference between vaccination services, irrespective of whether the shots are administered at a medical facility or in people's homes.

"The earlier people get vaccinated, the more protection they have," she said.

When the vaccination team members arrive at a person's home, they first inquire about their health, including underlying illnesses, measure their blood glucose levels and blood pressure, then inspect any medication they use regularly.

If no abnormalities are discovered and the seniors' family members have signed an informed consent form, the medical team staff will provide the vaccination.

"I made an appointment for my father's third shot in the morning, and the team came that afternoon," said the son of a 90-year-old surnamed Yan.

To protect seniors via vaccination, Chaoyang has set up 48 stations and 46 mobile teams to provide services.

Authorities have also released hotline numbers for related consultations and reservations in subdistricts, residential communities and villages. In Huairou district on the outskirts of Beijing, teams are offering individually tailored vaccination services for seniors, especially those unable to leave home.

Family doctors visit the seniors' homes to provide physical examinations and medical treatment, as well as vaccination services.

Huairou has also organized 20 door-to-door vaccination teams for seniors, which have played a key role in protecting them. Since last month, the teams have vaccinated 2,103 people age 60 and older, accounting for 74.55 percent of the vaccinated senior population.

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