SAN ANTONIO – Not all seniors are tech savvy or have computers and email, but efforts are being made to make it easier for them to register in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are receiving phone calls from people who are very frustrated with the process,” said DeAnne Cuellar, state director of Older Adults Technology Services, which includes Senior Planet.
“We’re still providing all three legs of the stool,” Cuellar said. “Devices, connectivity to the internet and digital literacy training.”
Cuellar said Senior Planet keeps in mind that many seniors are on fixed-incomes.
She said the Senior Planet hotline, 210-504-4862, is a comprehensive service.
“We can walk you through everything from how to buy a computer, which computer you should buy,” she said. “We can answer questions about which internet access programs are out there based on your income.”
She said Senior Planet also has information about low-cost computers and computers that can be checked out for free.
Dya Campos, an H-E-B spokeswoman, said it will have a phone number for those who don’t have internet access once it has additional doses of the vaccine available.
Elizabeth Allen, a spokeswoman for University Health, said although all of its appointments are currently filled, it will resume scheduling more, also after more doses of the vaccine arrive.
“We will continue to use multiple ways to make the vaccine available to those persons who are most at risk for the virus, including seniors who may not have easy access to web-based registration,” Allen said in a statement.
She said, “There will undoubtedly be telephone communications involved.”
In announcing its mass vaccinations at the Alamodome, Laura Mayes, spokeswoman for the city of San Antonio, said, starting Saturday, “There are options to register online and by phone by calling 311.”
Jeannette Carnevale, outreach coordinator and a trainer with Senior Planet, said many of those she’s spoken to would much prefer speaking to someone rather than registering online.
Carnevale said so far during the initial vaccine roll-out, “Somewhere, somebody dropped the ball about not getting this information to especially seniors 65 and over.”
With COVID-19 cases now at record levels and with more vaccines on the way, she said, “This needs to get fixed.”