Helping Seniors Get a COVID-19 Vaccine
After a long year of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines have finally arrived. Hope is on the horizon, thanks to several available vaccines that health officials say are very effective against the virus.
While millions of people around the United States have received a COVID-19 vaccine, there is still a long way to go. Getting the vaccine to seniors who desperately need it has proven to be difficult. Keep this important information in mind as you and your loved ones work to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Which Vaccine Is Best?
All of the approved vaccines are excellent options. If a vaccine is available to you, don’t pass it over because you think a better one might be out there. Although each vaccine has different reported effectiveness, they all protect very well against the virus and prevent serious complications or death.
Where Can I Find a Vaccine?
Pinpointing where exactly you can get a vaccine can be difficult and frustrating if you aren’t having success. The best place to start looking is with your state and local health departments, as well as hospitals and pharmacies nearby. Unfortunately, it can take a while to find an open appointment until supplies build up more. Californians can use the state “My Turn” website to find nearby vaccine locations and schedule an appointment.
Find a Helping Hand
Online tools make it easy to disseminate information broadly and schedule vaccinations. Unfortunately, this system can leave seniors behind if they aren’t technologically-savvy. A senior may not know what to do when they encounter hurdles in the system and give up. Family members and caregivers can reach out to seniors they know and help get them set up with an appointment and find transportation. If a friend or family member isn’t available, local groups serving seniors and other aging services may be able to help.
“Seniors have a higher risk of complications from COVID-19, so it is especially important for them to get vaccinated,” says Ed Johnson, administrator at Vista Manor Nursing Center. “Helping them with technological hurdles can simplify the process for scheduling and receiving the vaccine.”
How Much Will It Cost?
The COVID-19 vaccine will not cost any money out of pocket, though vaccine providers may bill insurance to recoup costs. Even if a person does not have insurance, the vaccine will not cost anything. There will not be any copays or other costs associated with the vaccines. Do not let money concerns get in the way of getting vaccinated. If someone tries to charge you for access to a vaccine, it may be a scam.
After Your Vaccine
Before you leave the vaccination site, find out if you need a second shot. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech shots require a booster, but the Johnson & Johnson shot does not. If you need a second shot, ask if they can schedule it for you before you leave and save you some trouble.
Hitting roadblocks can be discouraging and might even keep some people from getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Armed with the right information and assistance from caring family, friends, and neighbors, seniors can find the help they need to get vaccinated.