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Editorial: Get Your Vaccine, or Help Your Family Get Theirs

by Madison Jarnot

Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash.

Everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated should do so as soon as they can.

I know you’ve heard that a million times by now, and I hope you will listen when it’s your turn. If it isn’t your turn right now, I hope you are helping those around you get vaccinated.

Governor Tom Wolf recently hinted that he may soon expand vaccine appointments to all adults and abandon the phased approach Pennsylvania originally adopted. However, many Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) offices, which are a division of the Department of Aging that connect older adults to resources such as vaccine centers, are struggling to clear their backlog of vaccine appointment requests. Some AAA offices still have thousands of residents on their vaccine waitlists.

If you know anyone in your family or community that is over 64 years old, please reach out to them to start a discussion about their COVID-19 vaccination. If they haven’t been able to secure an appointment yet, help them. Older adults are more prone to suffer from serious complications due to COVID-19, and they are unfortunately one of the groups that struggle with scheduling an appointment the most. 

Many COVID-19 vaccine appointment schedulers are entirely virtual, and older Pennsylvanians are more likely to lack internet access or have trouble navigating scheduling websites. They also may not have reliable transportation to get them to appointments, which makes getting vaccinated all the more difficult.

If you have an older family member or friend in your community that still needs to get vaccinated, offer to call their health provider or local vaccine clinics on their behalf. Visit the websites of their insurance provider, local pharmacies, and local emergency vaccine providers to see if there are any appointments available. If they have questions during the scheduling process, help them find answers.

You could also offer them transportation, but please, be as safe as possible and use your common sense when doing so. It may be better to arrange a ride with one of Westmoreland County’s free and discounted transportation programs for seniors than drive them yourself. If you do offer them a ride, be sure to wear your mask, stay as distant from them as possible, and open the windows to help improve ventilation in the car. If you feel sick or are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 on the day of their appointment, please, stay home and stay away from them. 

Talk with the other adults in your life about COVID-19 vaccines, too. Ask them if they’ll be getting vaccinated when it’s their turn and provide them with reputable research to help address any concerns they have or misinformation they may believe.

Although these conversations can sometimes be frustrating or uncomfortable, they’re an essential part of reaching herd immunity. Pennsylvanians who live in rural areas, like many of our parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, are particularly hesitant of the vaccine. We have to reach out to them when we can and to persuade them to get vaccinated, for their safety and the safety of our community at large. 

Please, do everything you can to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including getting vaccinated. If you’re waiting your turn, please aid those around you. We need each other now more than ever.  

Other stories from vol. 14, issue 4: 
2021 Commencement Changed in Response to Seniors
New COVID-19 Relief Includes Aid for Students
Classrooms after COVID-19: Fall 2021 Mode of Operation Announced
Pre-Law Society to Host LSAT Tutoring Event
Campus Close-Up: Meet the New CAs
Read Your Heart Out: “Beyond Order” and Jordan Peterson’s Controversies
Stream Your Heart Out: “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”
March Madness Begins Despite Pandemic
Are the Steelers in a Salary Cap Nightmare?
Opinion: My Self-Care Day at the Zoo
Opinion: Vaccine Guilt Is Real and We Should Talk About It
Opinion: I Hope You’re Watching With Me

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