Wednesday, May 25

Urge not to neglect vaccination against Covid-19 of older adults in NY

The expansion of eligibility to get the COVID-19 vaccine in New York brings back concerns about access to doses for older adults in the Big Apple, a sector of the population that has been facing limitations in the accessibility of the online dating system.

Now that New Yorkers 30 and older can be vaccinated, this expansion is estimated to add approximately 2 million people to the group who can request their appointments in the Big Apple, while still receiving about 200,000 doses of the first injection per week. .

“The crush on dating will be intense. We have to make sure that marginalized communities are not blocked, ”estimated the president of the City Council’s Health Commission, Mark Levine, who has repeatedly been pointing out that only the 14% of the city’s adult population, has received some dose of the inoculation.

Just as an anecdote, the Mexican Lupe Covarrubias 40 years old, took his mother from 72 years to the massive vaccination center enabled in the ‘Yankee Stadium’, ensuring that they achieved the appointment “relatively quickly”.

“My children, who are better at technology than us, helped us navigate the system. And it was all fast. But it is a process that close the door to many elderly people who live alone since they don’t have internet. I believe that as a Hispanic community we must support our grandparents who we know live alone, ”said the domestic worker.

Lupe’s impression describes in detail one of the edges of more concern from New York City health authorities and various elected officials, after more than 100 days of immunization days: the risk that the group most punished by confinement and its vulnerabilities to the virus will be unreachable the drug.

Online appointments for injection are not always an easy path and even more so when a QR code is involved (Photo: F. Martínez)

“I do not understand anything

Now, with millions of eligible people “competing” for a date, whoever is better at technology will now have notable advantages.

Dominican Carla López, 68, went to the vaccination center at ‘Yankee Stadium’. They informed him that he should start to process the appointment by phone, through the website or through the QR code which is printed on the door of the sports facility.

“None of these options I handle. I open that page and I don’t understand anything. Just by phone and they are sending me to another center in Brooklyn when I live right here. I have to go to Inwood to my nephew’s house to help me, because I live alone”, Narrated the Quisqueyana.

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The good news in this race for injection is that now lpeople aged 75 years or older, and your companion of any age, can go 24 hours to three mass vaccination sites in the Big Apple without an appointment, only having an ID that proves their age.

Those over 65 still have to continue betting on the computerized immunization allocation system, which in many cases it is a complicated path.

Estimates ensure that only 14% of city adults have been immunized. (F. Martínez)

Technology as a barrier

The newspaper The New York Times, on the occasion of the 100 days since the start of the immunization process against COVID-19 in the Big Apple, put on the table how the disparities in the use of technology and language move away from doses, even more so, to older adults in poor neighborhoods.

In localities of ‘Upper West Side’ y ‘Upper East Side’, about half of adults have received at least one injection. In Corona, Queens, and in localities in the Bronx, where the virus is much more deadly, only 19% have managed to inject themselves.

“Many older people are confined to their homes or they have had problems navigating complex and confusing websites, to get an appointment ”, concluded the prestigious New York media.

NYT underscores in its report that for non-English speakers, language limitations can create confusion: “For poorer residents, it is simply more difficult and expensive to tskip a few hours or a day or two off to get vaccinated ”.

In the midst of what is considered to be a stage where older adults will have more obstacles to locate a place and a date to be immunized, the Ombudsman Jumaane Williams demanded that the state government make its COVID-19 websites, including those used to book vaccination appointments, are accessible for the visually impaired.

“The websites have not been optimized for use with screen readers, which provide technological access to people with vision failures ”he denounced.

About 3.5 million New Yorkers people over 40 live with visual impairment.

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In a letter to the state health commissioner, Howard Zucker, the official said that 81 out of 94 state websites They offer information and vaccine providers are not “friendly”.

“New registration sites suffer from low-contrast colors, supplemental electronic forms that must be filled out, and minimal text options for finding a vaccination site. The lack of visual accessibility creates the possibility of significant disparities in efforts to immunize the population, “Williams reinforced.

He also noted the obligation to comply with the protocols of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). And called for the state to begin working together with disability advocates to redesign the websites to ensure compatibility with screen-reader software and to provide “text-only” lists of vaccine providers and information, rather than the “complicated maps” that are incompatible with screen reader technology.

The City: we are reaching the elderly

For their part, spokespersons for the New York City Office of Older Adults (DFTA) assure that they have been working closely with the Vaccine Command Center (VCC) to get as close to the profile of elderly people who live alone and do not have access to technology.

“This includes activities such as programming assistance and transportation arrangements for older adults who do not have internet. We are also working with the VCC and the Fire Department (FDNY) to reach the homebound elderly and ltake the injection to your home”Reported DFTA spokeswoman Dina Montes.

According to Montes, DFTA and its provider network make tens of thousands of calls per week to older adults who receive services from its programs. This contact provides assistance for schedule immunization options.

“If an older adult does not have transportation for an appointment, they are helped to organize the mobilization through free City services, which include Access-a-Ride, Taxi Curb and ambulance services ”, highlighted the official.

Likewise, this agency reports that the City is working to identify to confined older adults who need vaccines at home through caregivers, case management providers, and program providers’Social Adult Day Care’.

The City reports that they accelerate programs to get doses to the poorest neighborhoods. (Photo: F. Martínez)

The challenge of vaccinating at home

Once homebound older adults are identified, FDNY deploys field teams with nurses to vaccinate them at their homes.

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“We are working to get closer every day to the most affected neighborhoods, which is possible through the Working Group on Inclusion and Racial Equity (TRIE). Currently 29 community organizations contracted by DFTA they’re calling out to seniors in the neighborhoods and reserving appointments for them, ”Montes reported.

Also in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office and the State, 34 senior centers located in NYCHA housing developments function as emerging immunization points.

Likewise, Guillermo Chacón, founder of the Hispanic Health Network and member of the JState Council for Equitable Vaccination said they are looking at other strategies for New Yorkers living alone.

“I think we are on the right track. We must increase the participation in this process of older adults and we consider that the connection that these people generally have with their churches and community organizations is vital. This will be essential to shorten the path to the vaccine. It is also imperative multiply the presence of information in Spanish-language media ”, the activist shared.

The route to vaccinating older adults

  • The New Yorkers age 75 and older plus your companion can be vaccinated together no appointments at 24/7 mass vaccination sites operated by ‘NYC Test & Trace Corps’ in Brooklyn Army Terminal , Bathgate y Citi Field. These three sites are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • If you have a neighbor or an acquaintance who is an older adult who could have mobility problems or other difficulties to get immunized call 311 or 212-Aging-NYC (212-244-6469) what is the New York City Office of Aging.
  • All people over 65 or those eligible to be vaccinated have two ways to find out how and where to get vaccinated, and to make an appointment: the telephone line 877-VAX-4NYC and the website
  • In New York State, you can use the “Am I Eligible” app and to verify your eligibility and schedule.
  • New York State also has a vaccination hotline that you can call to schedule a vaccination: 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829).

Seniors in NYC

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