Vaccines: The next step in the pandemic
By Eileen Doherty, MS ~
Denver, Colo. – We as a global society have endured a year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our lives have changed, our economy has faltered, but many relationships, are stronger. We have lost loved ones. Many of us continue to grieve. Many have found new opportunities to reach out and touch the world. The next step is vaccines.
Our friends and families in long term care have received the vaccines. Many of the workers who care for our loved ones in health care settings have received the vaccine. They are well on their way to being protected, at least temporarily. Our scientists are still not sure how long the current vaccine will be effective.
According to state health officials, a majority of older adults 7 0 and over have received the vaccine. Many individuals age 65-69 are now beginning to receive the vaccine.
However, getting an appointment and getting transportation to the vaccine site is difficult for many older low income individuals, communities of color, and those with limited computer and other technology literacy.
When you call for an appointment with a local pharmacy, local hospital, or other community provider, your name is put on a list. When your name is randomly selected from the list, you will receive a call about an appointment to get the vaccine.
If you have signed up for a vaccine, it is important to answer all of your phone calls, even if you don’t know the number. We know that many people screen their calls for scams. The calls are robo-calls to schedule the appointment. Most hospitals, pharmacies, and community clinics are making several robo-calls if they are not successful at talking with you the first time, you reduce your chances of getting the appointment for the vaccine if you don’t answer your phone to get the information about the appointment.
For individuals who need transportation, there are very limited resources available. Most community transportation programs require you to sign up several days or even up to a week in advance. The vaccine appointments are usually within 1-2 days of the robo-call. If at all possible, when you sign up for your vaccine, check with family and friends to see if someone could arrange to take you to the appointment. You may want to plan to take a cab if taxi services are available in your community. Wear a mask, take your sanitizer, and wash your hands to be as safe as possible.
The cost of the vaccine is free. Most hospitals, pharmacies, and community clinics are billing Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance for the administration fee(s). Thus, they will ask you to provide your Medicare and insurance information.
The Society is available to assist with making appointments. Do not let the lack of technology and transportation keep you from making an appointment. For assistance, call 303-333-3482 or 1-855-293-6911 (toll free) or 1-855-880-4777 (Spanish).
As a trusted friend, all of us need to encourage our family and friends to consider being vaccinated. Let’s do our part to put the pandemic behind us.
Eileen Doherty, MS is the Executive Director of the Colorado Gerontological Society. Her areas of expertise include management and administration of nonprofit organizations, education and training on issues related to older adults, advocacy and policy development on senior issues, and clinical practice in working with seniors and families to manage their lives in the later years. She has been the Director of the Society since 1982. She teaches Nonprofit Management for Fort Hays State University.