‘It’s just not right’: Chicago area seniors deal with digital divide when making vaccine appointments

Coronavirus

CHICAGO – With many seniors not plugged into today’s digital world, some are getting confused when it comes to making or rescheduling vaccine appointments.

One senior WGN News spoke with Tuesday was so frustrated, she just gave up.

“The whole world can’t think that everybody has a computer and an email to do this stuff,” Pat Cash said.

Woodale senior Pat Cash said she wasn’t notified that her COVID-19 appointment had been changed because she doesn’t have a smartphone.

“I was just like livid because I have a set time I was told to be there, early nobody’s there to talk to everything’s locked up,” she said.

A young man finally told her vaccines were now being given at the DuPage County Fairgrounds. When she finally made her way over there, she said there were hundreds are cars waiting.

“And the kid says ‘well you have to sit there in line,” Cash said. “That’s just not right.”

AARP Illinois said this is a familiar story.

Director of Advocacy and Outreach Mary Anderson said they’ve been hearing stories from their members and volunteers around the state about massive frustration when it comes to getting vaccine appointments.

AARP Illinois is working with state and local lawmakers to make internet access more available as well as telehealth visits.

“We understand why everyone wants to get this vaccine. But if we look at who’s dying from COVID 96% of the COVID deaths in Illinois are older adults for older adults need to get priority, and not only control they should be first in line, but affirmative ways to get them connected to those appointments and getting them physically there,” Anderson said.

The organization has been holding a series of telephone town halls on the issue, but they said the key is to keep pressure on local and state health departments to get changes made.

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