Oregon seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

Coronavirus

After helping her 90-year-old mother get the vaccine, Margaret Scharle decided to start helping other seniors, too

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As seniors become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, many have found the process to actually book an appointment is anything but easy.

Margaret Scharle told KOIN 6 News she learned how tough the process is when she tried to get a vaccine appointment for her 90-year-old mother, Catherine. She said the Oregon Health Authority’s website is hard to navigate and lists conflicting dates for when certain age groups are eligible.

211info is also overwhelmed with calls about vaccines. Many callers can’t get through to anyone and instead get an automated message that explains high call volume means the help center can’t accept any more calls for the day.

So after much searching, Margaret said she finally found another phone number to call and eventually was able to get her mom her first vaccine dose.

“What do you think, Mom, do you think you would be able to navigate that?” Margaret asked her mom.

“I think I’d give up on the second state,” Catherine replied. She added that she would likely still be waiting to figure out how to get a vaccine if it wasn’t for her daughter.

After their own experience, Margaret decided to help other seniors navigate the process. Through her church — St. Mary Magdalene Parish — Margaret helped set up a vaccine outreach website and email list for people 65 and older. She updates the website daily with new information and has since helped others book appointments. Margaret also connects seniors with transportation to get to their appointments.

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