92-year-old Doris Diether gets her homebound vaccination in Greenwich Village

Home among her papers and able to read the multitude of get well cards that arrived while Doris was in rehab.
Photo by Tequila Minsky

A fall in her Greenwich Village apartment last December landed long-time Community Board 2 Member Doris Diether, the reigning Queen of Washington Square Park, in and out of rehab and the hospital for four months. 

Furthermore, Diether did not get a vaccine while in any of those healthcare facilities. 

On returning to her Village abode two weeks ago, her visiting friends, always masked, and caretaker were rather surprised that this 92-year-old had yet to be vaccinated. Diether’s mantra is: I hate needles (and, incidentally she takes no medications).  Doris wanted the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Meanwhile, the local New London Pharmacy, after much delays and paperwork, received their first shipment of 200 Moderna and 100 Johnson & Johnson vaccines last week. 

When Erik Bottcher, formerly of Corey Johnson’s office, now, City Council candidate, heard that Doris was home and unvaccinated, he sprung into action, facilitating a homebound appointment through New London Pharmacy. “It takes a village” coming together that helped Doris get the protection she needs.

On Tuesday morning, Roger Williams, compounding specialist at New London Pharmacy Specialty Program, licensed to give vaccines, arrived promptly at Dieter’s  Village home to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to both Diether and her 55-year-old home attendant.  

Williams took all the relevant information from each and waited more than the requisite 15 minutes to see if there were any adverse reactions after giving the shots.  He also advised, for visitors, even if vaccinated,  in close proximity, to continue to wear masks after the two-week time lapse when immune efficacy kicks in. 

“This is my fourth vaccine to someone homebound,” says Williams who has one more homebound appointment later in the afternoon. “We give about 50 shots in the pharmacy a day,” he says.  

Hours after receiving her shot, Doris and her caretaker took in the 70-degree weather in her apartment-adjacent patio. “She’s still going strong,” says Bottcher of Doris’ half-century-plus service to the community and the need for the vaccine to keep her healthy.  Bottcher also commented on the necessity to make it easier for homebound seniors to get vaccinated. 

Obtaining a homebound vaccination is no simple task. The City’s provision for homebound Covid-19 vaccines requires following the prompts on a call to 311 and patiently waiting on hold, and waiting some more for an operator to take basic and contact information for the homebound recipient. 

This information is submitted to the Homebound Department, which will take a week or more for a return call. Then an appointment is scheduled for a Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be administered at home. 

There is also an online form— www.forms.cityofnewyork.us/f/homebound — that asks for basic information that will eventually enable the Homebound Department to get back to the homebound New Yorker in need of a vaccine.

Happy to be post-vaccination, Diether pipes up in the conversation.Photo by Tequila Minsky
Doris Diether’s caretaker also gets her vaccine jab.Photo by Tequila Minsky
Roger Williams of the New London Pharmacy Specialty Program about to give Diether the jab.Photo by Tequila Minsky
Doris Diether reviews the paperwork before signing.Photo by Tequila Minsky
A happy Doris Diether finally in her home. Doris Diether took a fall in her Village apartment and was in rehab and the hospital for four months during the winter.Photo by Tequila Minsky