It’s been challenging for many who want to get vaccinated to actually find and sign up for vaccinations. But two Kentucky cousins, still in high school, are using their online know-how to help seniors get vaccinated throughout the Bluegrass State.
As CNN reported, cousins Jacqueline Teague and Amelie Beck are not just content with hybrid learning and extracurricular activities. They’re also running a volunteer project to help seniors throughout Kentucky get COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
They started by helping their own grandparents get the vaccine in Louisville, and determined there was a need for other seniors to get the same help getting signed up.
They went to Facebook and created a page for seniors who needed help navigating online signup systems. Since launching it, they’ve helped more than 400 seniors register for vaccination appointments.
As Louisville TV station WDRB reported, Teague and Beck “essentially serve as tech support for senior citizens” who find it difficult to get where they need to on the internet.
“We are pretty tech savvy,” Teague said. “That’s mostly what we do, just guide them through the process.”
They’ve also set up a phone number for those who don’t have internet access.
“We give them a phone number to go on a hospital waitlist,” Teague said. “We feel like they appreciate the contact or touch point.”
Kentucky has opened up its vaccination process to a number of higher-risk groups, including anyone 70 and over, first responders, K-12 school personnel, health-care personnel and people who are at assisted-living and long-term care facilities.
But as CNN noted, “Many of the nation’s 50 million seniors … are struggling to navigate confusing vaccine distribution plans that can differ from state to state and in some cases, county to county.”
“I would estimate 10% to 20% are at risk of missing out on vaccines because they’re homebound, live alone, don’t have transportation or lack reliable social connections,” Dr. Anand Iyer, an Alabama pulmonologist said in CNN’s report. “Unfortunately, those are the same factors that put them at risk of poor outcomes from covid.”
And, as Teague and Beck are demonstrating, others have hurdles that come from not growing up with the technology that health care providers are leaning on to manage vaccine distribution.
“I think the most important part of this is them knowing that we’re there for them every step of the way,” Beck observed. “Everyone has been so lonely, locked up for almost 10 months so it’s really a sense of relief for them to be able to get the vaccine because they’re so scared.”
“We’ve had people calling us, breaking down about how they’re grateful to us that we’re helping them get it and now they’re finally able to get it,” she added. “It’s a good feeling for us knowing that we are helping without contributing to Kentucky’s numbers in Covid-19 cases.”