Resources available to help older population get COVID vaccine

WWNY Resources available to help older population get COVID vaccine

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Frustrations grow as people age 65 and up try to register for an appointment, or even get updates on the COVID-19 vaccine. That can be hard when a majority of the work is done online. However, there are resources and places that can help.

The Northern Regional Center For Independent Living in Watertown is inundated with calls - all asking the same questions.

“How do I keep moving forward with the vaccination process when there’s so many questions? Do I have a car? Can I drive? Do I have a computer? Is there internet access,” said Aileen Martin, executive director, NRCIL.

She says for people 65 and older looking to get vaccinated there are people to help sort through the confusion.

“We will get someone to help you. We can do the computer work and if you give us the information, we can figure that part out,” she said.

Martin says another good resource is your county’s Office for the Aging, which is prepared to help people register for the vaccine online.

Appointments at state sites are made strictly online. 7 News reached out to the Department of Health about if and how people without internet can sign up, but we haven’t heard back.

In Watertown, Bolton’s Pharmacy is doing whatever it takes to make sure vulnerable populations have access to the vaccine.

“We’re doing a lot of hand holding. When they’re showing up to their appointment, we’re literally sitting on our knees on the floor next to them helping them fill out the forms, getting that form online filled out so they can receive the vaccine that day,” said Melissa Farman, operations manager, Bolton’s Pharmacy.

Bolton’s Pharmacy isn’t making new appointments because demand is high and supply is low. But you can be put on a waiting list by calling the store.

Farman says going the phone route makes for a lot of calls, but it’s worth it.

“I’ve been telling my staff we’re going to be busy. We’re going to be stressed. But you have to understand the work we’re doing is important and it’s necessary,” she said.

They’re hoping more communication clears the confusion.

Kinney Drugs is also working to make it easier for the older population to schedule appointments.

In a statement to 7 News, Kinney Drugs said, “Kinney Drugs appreciates that some seniors may not have internet access. We are actively working on a telephone-based solution that we hope to announce very soon.”

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