COVID Vaccination? DIN!
Older people who test positive for COVID-19 are far more likely than younger people to become seriously ill and die. Fortunately, less than 10 percent of all COVID positive cases are among people 65 plus; however, this age group accounts for nearly 85 percent of all COVID-related deaths. The quicker older people are vaccinated, the more lives will be saved.
When the eligibility age for the COVID vaccine dropped to 65, I scheduled my first COVID-19 vaccination shot. I look forward to being fully vaccinated in the not-too-distant future. I have absolute faith in the safety and effectiveness of the FDA-approved vaccines available for us. I strongly encourage everyone to join me in making yourself and your friends and families safe from this terrible virus.
When the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services held a retreat last month, the consensus was this: Get vaccinated as soon as you possibly can. Here are comments from some of our Advisory Council members:
“I plan to get the vaccine as soon as I become eligible because I believe in the science of vaccines. I have watched and spoken to many in the health field who welcome the vaccine. We should consider how important this vaccine is in helping to end this pandemic. While we have all altered our behaviors in small and large ways due to the pandemic, vaccination is a step that will help everyone.”—Cynthia Snyder, 68, an active senior advocate in North Bend and the greater Snoqualmie Valley
“I will get the vaccine as soon as I can and look forward to everyone getting it so we can visit friends in person again!”—Lorna Stone, 74, Rainier Valley
“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID so that we can reach ‘herd immunity’ as soon as possible and get back to some semblance of normal.”—Joe Hailey, 75, West Seattle
Advisory Council member Barb Williams volunteered to serve as a monitor when the Skyline Continuing Care Retirement Community on Seattle’s First Hill received the Pfizer-BiopNTech COVID-19 vaccine last month. Skyline has 244 residents in its Independent Living tower—99.6 percent of those currently living on-site signed up to receive the vaccine.
In a well-orchestrated plan, all were vaccinated by Walgreen pharmacists on Monday, January 11. Barb shared comments from participants:
“Glad to get the vaccination early!”
“I am excited to be so lucky to get the vaccine.”
“Hardly felt anything!”
“Just like getting a flu shot.”
If you’re wondering how to get vaccinated, I recommend Public Health—Seattle & King County’s advice on “Getting vaccinated in King County.” You will read that both vaccine supply and appointments are limited, so there may be delays. Call your doctor’s office or health care provider to see if they have available vaccination appointments, or make an appointment at a vaccine clinic, even if that appointment is weeks out. As providers receive more doses and more vaccine sites open, it will be easier to get an appointment.
In the future, pharmacy chains may offer COVID vaccine appointments. And King County, Seattle, and suburban cities are planning high-volume vaccination sites to serve large numbers of people, once a sufficient supply of vaccine doses are available. Work is also underway to determine how homebound older adults can receive in-home vaccinations.
If you’re not sure about eligibility, use Washington State’s Find Your Phase WA online tool. If you are eligible to receive the vaccine now, the “PhaseFinder” can provide a list of possible vaccination locations.
If you have friends or family who cannot use the PhaseFinder tool and you’re unable to assist them, they can call Washington State’s COVID-19 Assistance Hotline at 1-800-525-0127 and press #. The Hotline is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday, and observed state holidays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
If you want to assess your current risk of catching COVID-19, check out the state CV19 CheckUp. And please note the importance of continued safety precautions against COVID, even after you are vaccinated. Learn more by reading “Help is on the Horizon—But for Now, Carry On!” in last month’s issue of AgeWise. Mask up, maintain physical distance, and wash your hands frequently until Washington State issues an “all clear.”
So, how do I feel about the COVID vaccine? DIN! Do It Now!
Contributor Dick Woo was elected chair of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services in December 2020, replacing Ava Frisinger, who did not seek a fourth term. He welcomes input from readers via e-mail (email@example.com) as well as applicants for open positions on the council. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.
This article originally appeared in the February 2021 issue of AgeWise King County.