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Scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment online: Tips seniors need to know

"The digital divide in this country has become even more apparent during the pandemic."

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — When it comes to scheduling a COVID-19 vaccination many healthcare providers require patients to sign up online, but that can be difficult for the older population. 

In Sacramento County, the sign-ups are available but officials warn that there is "extremely limited supply" and roughly 200,000 seniors who are 65 and older that are eligible. Registration for appointments must be done online. If help with online scheduling is needed, officials recommend reaching out to family or friends.

But not everyone has family or friends to help.

The Area Agency on Aging provides health services for people over 60 years old. Pam Miller is the executive director of Area 4 of the Agency on Aging. She says they are seeing a digital divide with many of the seniors they help.  

“To get a COVID vaccine often times you have to do it online and they may not have that ability," says Miller. "The digital divide in this country has become even more apparent during the pandemic."

RELATED: CVS to begin in-store vaccinations for COVID-19 this week at these California pharmacies

The "digital divide" Miller is talking about is seniors' lack of knowledge regarding technology or money to pay for computers or smartphones. Seniors in rural areas also have limited telephone services and lack the 2-1-1 help hotline that larger counties provide.  

“Some communities have 2-1-1 to get help, but others don’t,” says Miller. "Yuba and Sutter counties don’t have 2-1-1."

Miller says there are 3 things seniors can do to overcome the COVID-19 digital divide:

  1. Create a relationship with your neighbor
  2. Utilize services at your local library
  3. Use the statewide COVID-19 hotline (833) 422-4255

RELATED: VERIFY: So, you've been vaccinated. Is it now safe to visit family?

Another temporary solution to the digital divide is to call the Area Agency on Aging at 916-486-1876.

If you are looking for more information on scheduling a vaccine the links below may help you:

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