Technical issues keeping elderly Ohioans from getting their COVID-19 vaccine doses

COVID-19 Vaccine
Posted at 7:05 AM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 07:05:41-05

CLEVELAND — Elderly Ohioans included in early vaccine groups are still having a hard time getting their shot as the state opens up COVID-19 vaccinations to more people. Now, family members have no choice but to step in to help their loved ones get an appointment.

The challenge often comes from having to search and schedule vaccine appointments online.

"They're not very technically savvy but we tried to walk them through it,” said Debra Shorf. ‘I started going and checking myself.”

Evan Dawson, who lives in New York, says he knew his North Ridgeville parents would need help instantly. He says the process is tedious and almost impossible even for him.

"It felt like getting Hamilton tickets when I finally saw something eligible," he said.

For four days, he kept tabs open for Drug Mart, Giant Eagle and Marc's and refreshed every hour on the hour until finally got lucky.

"I said mom you got one and it's tomorrow and she said get out!"

However, down in Florida, Shorf is still looking for openings for her 81-year-old parents in Brook Park. She spends at least two hours a day searching online. Shorf tells News 5, both her parents have health conditions and have even been hospitalized in recent weeks. When it comes to finding an open appointment, health commissioners in Lorain and Cuyahoga counties are asking for patience. They say there just isn't enough vaccine for everyone who wants it right now.

We're told more doses are coming from both Pfizer and Moderna and a Johnson and Johnson vaccine is being considered for approval.

"It'll be like this for a little while longer but you know, remember that the sun is coming." Dave Covell, Lorain Public Health Commissioner.

There is help for seniors having trouble with the technical side of this process. In Cuyahoga County you can call 211 for assistance. In Lorain County, senior centers and churches are helping with outreach.