Vaccination record card showing booster dose of covid-19 vaccine. The thrid vaccination for immunity against delta variant.

Emergency medical teams will be fanning out across Southern California starting next week to get COVID-19 booster shots into the arms of SCAN Health Plan’s Medicare Advantage members, their families and caregivers.

The nonprofit MA plan is partnering with home care platform MedArrive to vaccinate homebound seniors in Los Angeles and Orange County at no cost.

“As COVID variants rapidly spread and immunity wanes among high-risk older adults, it’s imperative that we remove any barriers that are keeping people from being fully vaccinated, which is why SCAN is offering no-cost COVID and flu vaccine shots to our homebound members,” Sharon Jhawar, SCAN’s chief pharmacy officer, said in a press release.

The first U.S. case of the new COVID-19 omicron variant was identified earlier this week in Los Angeles. But even before the variant turned up, California was gearing up for potential COVID-19 spikes this winter. Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsome (D) urged all Californians to get vaccinated. 

SCAN Health’s booster program follows a successful in-home vaccination program the nonprofit launched last summer for homebound seniors, their family members and caregivers. SCAN said that program helped reduce the vaccination gap between its White and Black members from 17% to 6% and 11% to 4% between its White and Lantinx members.

Meanwhile, uptake of boosters among older Americans nationally has been increasing, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. About a third of the people aged 50 and older that KFF polled said they have already received a booster. The trend was strong among Whites, Blacks and Hispanics, suggesting initial concerns about the vaccine among minority groups may be dissipating.