Prioritizing the vaccine for those 65 and over, and how to help them get it

Right now, people 65 and older are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  But many of those people are struggling to find appointments. For others, who may not be tech-savvy, navigating the website and figuring out an appointment for a shot can be daunting.

"We need to vaccinate the 65 and older, prioritize them," said Dr. Janet Memark with the Cobb & Douglas Public Health Department.

The problem is, right now, there's not enough vaccine to go around.

"There are several million people that fall into this category to be eligible, and there's less than a million vaccines that have been allocated," said Dr. Memark.

And that's not the only problem. The older population may not have access to the scheduling website or may simply not know how or where to make an appointment.

"We encourage family members and friends to help seniors make appointments if they can, and also help them with transport like driving them over to Jim Miller Park," said Lisa Crossman with Cobb & Douglas Public Health.

Since Jim Miller Park, as well as many of the other sites, are drive-through, it is also an issue for those who no longer drive. But officials with Cobb & Douglas Public Health said their working with county officials and Senior Services to reach as many seniors as possible.

"We're setting up outreach teams, so if you can't come to us hopefully we can come to you at your church or another setting where we can bring the vaccine and team to you," said Dr. Memark.

Caregivers may accompany any of the elderly and may be able to get the vaccination at that time, but public health officials ask that only the main caregiver accompanies the person getting the shot.

"We need to vaccinate our 65 and older, and we don't want to strain the system," said Dr. Memark.

Health officials also caution to make sure people know what they’re signing up for. They said there is still plenty of testing going on at various sites, so don't sign up for testing if they’re really trying to schedule an appointment for the vaccine.

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