The Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) are joining efforts to ensure vulnerable seniors get access to the COVID-19 vaccine. DPH, DHS and local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) will be helping older adults to 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 P. Kemp said.
Georgia is currently in Phase 1A+ of its vaccination administration plan, which allows for people age 65 and older and their caregivers to be vaccinated. The 12 AAAs, which are part of the DHS Division of Aging Services network, will work with DPH’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, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner, Georgia 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, AAAs 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 (ADRC), which provides information on and referrals to local services and programs for older adults and people with disabilities.
AAA 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 pre-registration. There is no availability for walk-ins. AAAs 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,” DHS 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.”