GLENDALE, Calif. — These days, 85-year-old Ellen D'Angelo doesn't leave her Glendale home often. She has trouble getting around and uses a cane to walk.
D'Angelo said the pandemic has made it even more challenging to continue her regular routine.
"I have family, but they all live on the Westside, and of course, I haven't been able to visit them since the pandemic," she said.
D'Angelo has wanted to get vaccinated for months but said appointments are either unavailable or too far for her.
On Friday, she was one of about a dozen homebound seniors in Glendale waiting for the vaccine to arrive at their doorstep, and all it took was a phone call.
"It was the easiest way for me to get a shot; that was like a godsend," she said.
The Glendale Fire Department and Glendale Memorial Hospital partnered to help Glendale's most vulnerable residents receive their dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from the comfort of their own homes.
Every day two crews of a firefighter paramedic, ambulance operator, and a nurse are dispatched on a route to vaccinate handicap, bedridden, or medically fragile senior citizens in Glendale.
Nurse Bella Pashabezyan said she voluntarily stepped up to meet the demand.
At the height of L.A.'s COVID-19 ICU surge, Pashabezyan treated some of Glendale's sickest residents.
"It was very life-changing seeing how sick people were," Pashabezyan said. "Everyone was just so critically ill."
To be vaccinating her community is not only an honor but a full-circle moment.
"I feel blessed that I have this opportunity to be on this end of it now," she said. "All those people who didn't even have a chance to get the vaccine, and now we're preventing even more people from getting sick."
As soon as the vaccination team arrived, there stood D'Angelo watching as if the sun was rising on a new day.
In a matter of minutes, she was vaccinated with one dose of the J&J vaccine.
D'Angelo said she is grateful for the everyday heroes, conveniently protecting her from COVID-19 and restoring a sense of normality to her life.
Interested individuals must be Glendale residents over the age of 65 who are homebound and unable to get to a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. To sign up, call 818-550-5617.