Homebound Prudence Island residents get vaccinated

‘It was really a big team effort’

By Jim McGaw
Posted 4/12/21

PORTSMOUTH — Who says they no longer make house calls?

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Homebound Prudence Island residents get vaccinated

‘It was really a big team effort’


PORTSMOUTH — Who says they no longer make house calls?

A handful of homebound Prudence Island residents were vaccinated in the comfort of their own homes last week, thanks to a coordinated effort between PACE Organization of Rhode Island (PACE-RI), first responders and an island resident, Linda O’Brien, who served as driver.

“There was a need to get folks vaccinated,” Ms. O’Brien said of the effort, which took place on Thursday, April 8.

The R.I. Department of Health organized a program that prioritized older adults who live in either high-density or hard-to-reach areas like Prudence Island. PACE-RI, a nonprofit health plan for adults 55 and older with complex health needs, carried out the vaccinations.

A small team from PACE-RI, including registered nurse Lisa Pagliaro, who administered the vaccines, was brought to the island by the Portsmouth Fire Department, a trip arranged by Portsmouth Emergency Management Director Ray Perry.

They were met on the island by members of the Prudence Island Volunteer Fire Department, and the crew visited several homes where islanders were waiting for the shots.

“(Prudence) Fire Chief Bob Thurber helped organize the EMTs. To make it as efficient as possible, an EMT stayed at one home so we could get to the next home,” Ms. O’Brien said, pointing out that someone had to stay behind for about 15 minutes to make sure no one experienced any side effects from the vaccine.

“We were able to maximize our efforts,” she said. “The fire chief has really done a lot to provide excellent community service. That was the chief’s suggestion.”

Ms. O’Brien, who has volunteered at COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Raytheon in Portsmouth and in Bristol, said she was happy that everything came together so well. 

“It took a lot of people; PACE-RI, Ray Perry and the Town of Portsmouth, and the volunteer fire department on the island were all a part of it,” she said.

“These people honestly would not have been able to get the vaccine otherwise."

Betsy Canino, PACE-RI’s chief of clinical services, agreed.

“We’re focused on getting participants vaccinated to make sure they are protected, as well as getting out to help homebound community members,” she said. “There are so many older folks who would jump at the chance to get vaccinated, but they don’t have the means or mobility to do so.”

For more information, visit www.pace-ri.org.

2022 by East Bay Newspapers

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Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.