Agencies team up to help seniors receive COVID-19 vaccine

The Georgia Department of Human Services and the Georgia Department of Public Health are joining efforts to ensure vulnerable seniors get access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The agencies and local Area Agencies on Aging will help older adults sign up for and coordinate transportation services to vaccination appointments across the state.

“This partnership is a great example of the way Georgia is answering the call to protect its residents from COVID-19 and get vulnerable populations vaccinated,” Gov. Brian Kemp said.

Georgia is currently in Phase 1A+ of its vaccination administration plan, which allows for people ages 65 and older and their caregivers to be vaccinated. The 12 Area Agencies on Aging, which are part of the Department of Human Services' Division of Aging Services network, will work with the Department of Public Health's 18 public health districts to make contact with local seniors and plan vaccination events at senior centers and other safe community settings.

“Vaccination is so important for people aged 65 and older, but for those without a social support system to help them navigate a website, getting a vaccine can be extremely difficult,” said Kathleen E. Toomey, commissioner of the Department of Public Health. “This collaboration with DHS and AAAs demonstrates our collective ability to get the vaccine to the vulnerable individuals in Georgia who need it most.”

This month, Area Agencies on Aging are beginning to reach out to seniors and their caregivers who are currently enrolled in services through Home and Community Based Service programs, which include services like home-delivered meals, personal care assistance and respite care, as well as those who have contacted the Aging & Disability Resource Connection, which provides information on and referrals to local services and programs for older adults and people with disabilities.

Area Agencies on Aging and senior center staff will assist seniors with the registration process to sign up for local vaccination events and follow-up appointments for second dose vaccinations. Vaccination events require preregistration. There is no availability for walk-ins. Area Agencies on Aging will also assist with coordinating transportation for home-bound seniors needing assistance to and from their vaccination appointments.

“The COVID-19 virus has affected older adults so significantly that many seniors have had to cut themselves off from their families and communities to stay safe,” Department of Human Services Commissioner Robyn A. Crittenden said. “This partnership with DPH to help in the vaccination process is so important so we can keep our seniors safe and reconnect them with more in-person services and activities.”

To contact your local Area Agency on Aging, please visit aging.georgia.gov. The Northwest Georgia Area Agency on Aging which serves Whitfield and Murray counties is in Rome. The phone number is (800) 759-2963.

For other resources for older adults, please contact the Aging & Disability Resource Connection at https://www.georgiaadrc.com/findservices.

For information about COVID-19, visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.

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