Tags: Coronavirus | Health Topics | Vaccines | Cold/Flu | seniors | elderly | vaccinations

Older Adults Without Friends, Family Face COVID-19 Vaccine Challenges

an elderly woman folds her hands in her lap
(John Stillwell/AP)

Monday, 01 February 2021 06:53 PM

Older adults without social support are struggling to get COVID-19 vaccines. While seniors with family and friends to help them secure the drugs are getting vaccinated, healthcare officials are concerned people without assistance are left lagging in the race.

According to Kaiser Health News, people who are not computer savvy, or might not even have access to computers or smartphones, and those who lack transportation, face an uphill battle to get inoculated.

As states across the U.S. roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to people 65 and older, seniors are scrambling to figure out how to sign up to get their shots, according to reports. Most counties require individuals apply for their shots online, but many older folks find the complicated procedures bedeviling, and others do not have access to the Internet, especially people of color and those who are poor.

Dr. Anand Iyer, a pulmonologist from Alabama, runs a clinic for more than 200 indigent adults and says 70% of them are Black and many are older.

"I would estimate that 10% to 20% are at risk of missing out on vaccines because they're homebound, live alone, don't have transportation, or lack reliable social connections," he said according to KHN. "Unfortunately, those are the same factors that put them at risk of poor outcomes from COVID-19."

Language issues are also an obstacle, says Yanira Cruz, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging.

"I'm very concerned that older adults who are not fluent in English, who don't have a family member to help them navigate online, and who don't have access to private transportation are going to be left out" during the current rollout, she said.

Some counties are partnering with community centers to help seniors obtain their vaccines. In Morgantown, West Virginia, county health officials put up a large road construction sign with a phone number for folks over 80 to call for an appointment. They devised a phone messaging system to help people register, according to West Virginia's News, and filled 100 slots in 45 minutes. The vaccines were administered at National Guard armories.

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Headline
Older adults without social support are struggling to get COVID-19 vaccines. While seniors with family and friends to help them secure the drugs are getting vaccinated, healthcare officials are concerned people without assistance are left lagging in the race.
seniors, elderly, vaccinations, covid-19, pandemic, vulnerable, loneliness
351
2021-53-01
Monday, 01 February 2021 06:53 PM
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