COVID Vaccine Distribution Has Begun…
BUT SENIORS FACE CHALLENGES IN GETTING SHOTS
States have started vaccinating their residents for COVID-19, but many older residents are reporting significant challenges when it comes to getting their shots. Although older Americans receive priority with respect to their eligibility to receive the vaccine, along with frontline health care workers and first responders, there are nationwide complaints of long waits in line, trouble getting through to call-center operators, and issues with online appointment platforms. Many have used automated call-back systems, but are left waiting for days for a return call. The Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) is a national database created by the CDC to track vaccinations. The system requires users to create an account and then enter their e-mail address and other personal information. But many older Americans are finding the system difficult to navigate – if they even have internet service at all. Some experts estimate that close to 20% of seniors are at risk of not getting vaccinated because they are homebound, isolated, or lack social connections who can help.
One 90-year-old woman decided she wasn’t going to let weather get in the way of her vaccination appointment. Fran Goldman walked from her house in Seattle to a local hospital on February 14th, despite a storm that left a foot of snow, to get her first shot. “The journey to and from the hospital would be three miles each way, but – despite having received a hip replacement last year – Goldman was up to walk it,” according to CBS News. She told a reporter that she was nervous about driving in the snow, so decided to make the trek–a mere six miles in one day!