The vaccination process used by the states and counties in the U.S. is primarily web-based. This makes sense for a massive national effort that hopes to deliver one or two shots (depending on the manufacturer) to over 75% of the country in a few months. One of the most vulnerable segments of those eligible for the vaccine, adults over 65 who aren’t essential workers or in long-term care facilities, must schedule their vaccine appointments themselves. The mismatch between those in that demographic who aren’t tech-adept and the official method for scheduling a vaccine time slot could have serious consequences. Fortunately, there are a few solutions to this problem available to the seniors and caregivers in San Diego as well as family members who want to help their elderly in home care around the country.
Here are six ways to find out how to make a vaccination appointment, or get live help with scheduling an appointment over the phone:
- Goodwill Industries of San Diego County: Seniors can call one of Goodwill’s community employment centers for live assistance in scheduling an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Goodwill’s career advisors will be available by phone Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm to help seniors navigate the scheduling process on a state, county or provider website.
- The County of San Diego: Seniors who are home-bound who don’t have access to a computer or phone can call 2-1-1 to add their names to the county’s list. San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher says that the county already has one provider giving vaccine shots to seniors in their homes, though they’re working with a limited vaccine supply. Once all the residents of San Diego’s long-term care facilities have been vaccinated, the firefighter teams currently completing that effort will be reassigned to the seniors on the list compiled by 2-1-1.
- Seniors-only site in San Marcos: the Gary and Mary West PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) location in San Marcos has created the first vaccination center in San Diego designated exclusively for seniors. Call 2-1-1 to make a vaccination appointment for this location, which is ideal for seniors with limited mobility. West Pace CEO Tim Lash told KPBS, “What you see at this site is very limited movement for the seniors. We’ll have pre-populated the registration forms for the seniors. They’ll then be escorted by a team to our vaccination cells. And once they’re in these seats, and we have seats to accommodate for caregivers as well, they don’t need to move. So, everything else will come to them.”
- NPR has created an online tool to help seniors and caregivers in each state navigate each state or city’s protocols for scheduling a vaccine appointment. Go to the NPR website and select your state and you’ll find links to the current phase of eligibility, the way to register for notification of your turn, and a way to get help if you need it. This is a wonderful tool for loved ones who don’t live near their elderly relatives so they can help them sign up from a distance.
- Per the CDC, “The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the United States.” The CDC’s website has the full list of pharmacy partners, and initially, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid in San Diego will have vaccines available. The CDC advises checking each chain’s website to find out if they have vaccines available, which locations are ready to vaccinate, and how to schedule your vaccination.
- GoodRx, the prescription medication discount site, also provides a tool on their website to help seniors and loved ones find out how to schedule a vaccination appointment in every state in the country.
You can also sign up with the state for notifications about your specific eligibility: https://myturn.ca.gov/, or call the state’s hotline at 1-833-422-4255 for information about where you are in line, based on age, occupation or health risk.