As millions of COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed across the country, seniors remain confused and frustrated about their place in line, or if they have one at all. With coronavirus cases and deaths continuing to break records and the vaccine distribution system flawed, older adults don’t know where to turn for help.
Seniors are feeling overwhelmed and unable to get up-to-date reliable information. Here are some helpful tips on how to ensure your place in line for your COVID-19 vaccine.
Tips on how to ensure your spot in the vaccine line
#1 Don’t assume that will happen. In most cases, you will need to take the initiative.
In addition to the chaos of the pandemic, it sounds daunting to have to track down how to get your place in line for the vaccine, but health experts say it is wisest to not wait for a call from your primary care doctor. Take initiative and call them.
#2 Check with your physician’s office, hospital, or where you receive care.
Many institutions (though not all) are posting information about covid vaccines on their websites. Some have set up phone lines. Check with major hospitals or health systems in your area to see what they’re doing. Vaccine distribution locations are slowly increasing.
#3 Call your local county health department or county department on aging and ask for assistance.
Every state has a COVID-19 hotline. Be prepared for long waits as a lot of phone lines are jammed. Getting your vaccine will be worth being placed on hold and listening to the cheesy elevator music!
#4 Check your local media or your county’s/state’s health department websites regularly for the latest on vaccine distribution plans.
Most places are requiring people to sign up online for appointments. Some sites require multiple steps and their systems may seem hard to use. If you don’t have a computer or you aren’t comfortable using one, ask a younger family member, friend, or loved one for assistance.
#5 Use AARP’s vaccine state-by-state online tool.
You can check the status of your state’s health department protocols on vaccine distribution on AARP’s online tool. As of now, there are about 20 states listed, but it is being updated constantly. You should be able to find state information by the end of January.
Be patient! Even if vaccines aren’t available right away, production is constantly increasing, new vaccines are being developed, and new ways of distributing vaccines, notably mass distribution sites, are in the works. If you have to wait several weeks or months, don’t give up. Persistence is worth the effort, given the vaccine’s benefits.