Community Organizations Offer Help Signing Up for COVID-19 Vaccine
Although Ohioans ages 65 and older are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some older adults are facing significant barriers when trying to make an appointment.
Direction Home is a nonprofit that helps older adults make long-term care choices. The number of calls they receive about vaccines has tripled in the past few weeks. Matt Reed, senior vice president of communications and administration, says many callers are older adults who don’t have access to internet and are struggling to make an appointment.
Although Direction Home can’t make vaccine appointments, they are printing out information and mailing it to those without internet access.
Reed has another suggestion for those without internet. “The number one priority is to make sure you’re reaching out to the health department that is responsible for your area, so if you live in Summit County, make sure you’re calling the Summit County Health Department if you don’t have internet access, and then follow the directions that the health department has.”
Reed says the state and several counties are working on plans to vaccinate homebound adults, a population he sees slipping through the cracks.
In Lake County, a local library is providing a new service to help older adults sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Madison Public Library Director Dee Culbertson says she began to see a problem a few weeks ago, when a few older adults came in asking questions about how to sign up for the vaccine online. In many cases, people have to use the internet to get an appointment with a provider.
“So many senior citizens do not have the technology, ability or capabilities to do this, so we’re the library. We should be here to help them.”
The state and local health departments offer help and information when signing up for the vaccine, but Culbertson thinks people are turning to the library due to familiarity.
Although library staff cannot sign up patrons for vaccines themselves, they can help them navigate the process. Culbertson hopes being proactive and putting out information in the community will make the process easier.