“Older Americans still make up a majority of those who have been inoculated, and many are taking advantage and venturing out.”
“Marcia Bosseler, 85, is back to playing Ping-Pong — and beating all the men, she says — at her apartment complex in Coral Gables, Fla.” Credit. … Scott McIntyre for The New York Times“
by Jennifer Steinhauer
“Bobby Stuckey flipped through receipts this month, surprised to see a huge increase in cocktail sales, the highest in the 17-year history of his restaurant, even though the bar section has been closed. The septuagenarians are back.
“’Every night we are seeing another couple or a pair of couples in the dining room, and they feel so much relief,’ said Mr. Stuckey, the owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo. ‘Covid was hard on everybody, but you can’t even think of the emotional toll in this group. They haven’t gone out. They want to have the complete experience. It is just joyful to see them again.’
“Older people, who represent the vast majority of Americans who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, are emerging this spring with the daffodils, tilting their faces to the sunlight outdoors. They are filling restaurants, hugging grandchildren and booking flights.
“Marcia Bosseler is back to playing Ping-Pong — and beating all the men, she says — at her apartment complex in Coral Gables, Fla.”
Read this article at The New York Times in its entirety, click here.
by John J. Reilly and Mark S. Tremblay
“This generation of children will face a range of challenges, including the impacts of climate change, increasing globalisation, and the consequences of rapid technological change. They will need to become habitually physically active in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults who can survive and thrive in a changing world.
T”he Global Matrix initiative on physical activity
“As nurseries and schools begin to reopen across the UK, there is much concern about the impact of this very difficult year on children. One aspect of normal childhood which many have missed out on in the last 12 months is the simple fun of playing outside. England’s Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield believes we should prioritise youngsters’ wellbeing as part of our recovery from COVID-19.
“Our latest research suggests that during lockdown most children spent less time outdoors, became less physically active and spent more time in front of screens. As a result, this may now be the least fit generation of children in history. In England, children have even been scolded by police for playing outdoors. And school and nursery closures have inevitably reduced opportunities to play with friends.
“Our behaviours are formed and reinforced by habit. Some children may have lost the habit of playing outside over the past year, replacing it with sedentary screen time, while others might not have had the opportunity to develop the habit at all.”
Click here to read this article at The Conversation in its entirety
“Vaccine registration websites weren’t designed for the people who need them most. Here are easy fixes that don’t require starting over.”
SOURCE: AZFree/iStock. Pavlo Stavnichuk/iStock
by Catharine McNally
“Across the U.S., online registrations for the COVID-19 vaccine are failing to consider some of the most vulnerable groups of people: seniors, those with disabilities, and certain racial and socioeconomic groups.
“The online registration processes were launched quickly (rightly so) in response to the rushed vaccine rollout. Usually, rapidly spun-up sites cater to the general public—the mythical ‘average users’—not these specific groups.
“But these groups are the main users of government vaccination registration websites, at least initially. Seniors face confusing, inconsistent, and frustrating registration processes that leave them scrambling to find help from family members, as an NPR story detailed earlier this month. New York, for instance, has a 51-question registration process that leaves many seniors overwhelmed.
“It’s not just seniors who are being left out.” Click here to read this article at Fast Company in its entirety.
Department of Health Provides Update on Adverse Weather Impacting Vaccine Distribution and Administration, Assures Pennsylvanians will Be Vaccinated as Distribution Resumes
Harrisburg, PA – As significant winter weather continues to impact much of the country, the Pennsylvania Department of Health was alerted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccine sent to providers by Moderna and Pfizer will be delayed. The department wants Pennsylvanians to be aware that these delays could impact their scheduled appointments.
“Weather this week has been challenging in terms of getting vaccine delivered from manufacturers directly to vaccine providers in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “As we have been emphasizing, we are working with our vaccine providers to ensure they are aware of the shipment delays as they continue to be in contact with people who have scheduled appointments to reschedule so that people are assured their vaccine.
“It’s too early to know which vaccine providers are being affected by these weather-related delays. We know that the federal government is working with manufacturers and we know that local vaccine providers will be ready when the shipments do get through. Unfortunately, weather delays will impact the ability to get vaccine into arms and providers are working to reschedule appointments as necessary.”
Pennsylvania was allocated 183,575 first doses of vaccine this week, 112,400 doses of Moderna and 71,175 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech. Philadelphia receives its own, separate allocation of vaccine.
Earlier this week, hubs from which vaccine is distributed were significantly affected by winter weather. Moderna vaccine was not shipped from the distributor on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of this week. The CDC is working with shipping partners to resume shipments as quickly as possible.
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines were not shipped on Monday, February 15. A limited amount of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was shipped on both Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
There will be a significant backlog of orders for distribution as the federal government and the distributors work to begin shipping again. The federal government is working to catch up as efficiently as possible.
While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient.
- The Your Turn tool provides a way to register to be alerted when it’s your turn to be vaccinated.
- A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.
- Vaccine provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
- All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.
- Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.
- Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking on the Plan Feedback Form square under Popular Vaccine Topics here.
- Frequently asked questions can be found here.
The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
- Clean surfaces frequently.
- Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
- If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.
- Download the COVID Alert PA app and make your phone part of the fight. The free app can be found in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store by searching for “covid alert pa”.
“The virus was unsparing.”
by Youyou Zhou and Julia Belluz
“Across the country, more than 27 million people have contracted the coronavirus, and 485,000 have died. That’s the highest Covid-19 toll of any country and more than the coronavirus deaths in Italy, Germany, Australia, Japan, the UK, Canada, and France combined. It exceeds the US death toll in World War II.
“It’s also an underestimate, and doesn’t account for all the people impacted by loss. If every American who died has left nine people grieving, as one study suggested, there are now more than 4 million Americans who have lost a loved one to the pandemic.
“Death at this scale is difficult to comprehend, or visualize. To get a clearer sense of the shifting burden of Covid-19 deaths over time, Vox analyzed coronavirus mortality by age, region, and race from the past year, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University.
“We found that while Covid-19 spared no group, it impacted certain populations more than others. Throughout the pandemic, people of color have consistently been disproportionately sickened and killed by the virus. They also died young: Of Covid-19 deaths in people under the age of 45, more than 40 percent were Hispanic and about a quarter were Black.
“But what started as a health emergency concentrated in travelers, urban minority communities, and other crowded places (such as nursing homes and prisons) fanned out into rural areas of the country, leading to a surge in deaths among white people, too.”
“Mary Christian, 71, spent hours on both her cellphone and iPad trying to arrange an appointment online for a COVID-19 vaccination through the Mississippi State Department of Health website and on its listed registration phone line. Older adults across the country who can’t easily navigate online technology are finding it difficult to sign up for appointments.” Rogelio V. Solis – The Associated Press
by Jenni Bergal
“Like millions of older adults across the country, Allan Potter and his wife, Vicki, are eager to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“The Potters, who live in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, are prime candidates. They’re both 73. He suffers from a neuromuscular disorder. She has multiple myeloma. They hoped to sign up for the shots and get them quickly.
“But they don’t have a computer or a smartphone. And, as in many states and counties, that’s a problem because most of the registration and appointment-setting is being done online.
“’Not all of us have a computer or are on the internet,’ Allan Potter said. ‘We’re old-school. We’ve got a landline and that’s it. It’s very frustrating.’
“While many older adults have access to the internet and are tech-savvy, others are not. And even some of those who are used to going online are having a hard time navigating complicated registration websites. Others who are being left out include low-income residents who may not have the technology and people in rural areas with poor internet connections.
“Many older people are turning to adult children, other family members or friends to help them. Others are just left out.”
Continue reading this article at Pew Trusts, click here.
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“State Department of Aging offers older Pennsylvanians new resources to arrange COVID-19 vaccinations” – WITF
“We need to foster these community-based solutions.”
SOURCE: WITF article
by Kiley Koscinski/WESA
“(Pittsburgh) – After weeks of criticism from older Pennsylvanians struggling to get COVID-19 vaccine appointments, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday two state agencies are stepping up to help people over the age of 65 book COVID-19 vaccine appointments over the phone.
“The state’s Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE, is a low-cost prescription program for older adults; it has launched a dedicated unit at its Harrisburg-based call center to help its 275,000 cardholders arrange vaccination appointments. Operators will also be working with cardholders to arrange for transportation to vaccination sites; they’re also working with PACE’s pharmacy network members to vaccinate at a cardholder’s residence, if necessary. Enrollees can call 1-800-225-7223.
“For other older adults, PA Link is now taking calls from people who don’t have access to a computer. Operators will assess the caller’s situation, offer guidance and transfer to a scheduling team. For callers with transportation needs, PA Link will also be able to contact partners with their local Area Agency on Aging to assist with coordinating rides.”
“Side effects are just a sign that protection is kicking in as it should.”
“GETTY / THE ATLANTIC
by Katherine J. Wu
“At about 2 a.m. on Thursday morning, I woke to find my husband shivering beside me. For hours, he had been tossing in bed, exhausted but unable to sleep, nursing chills, a fever, and an agonizingly sore left arm. His teeth chattered. His forehead was freckled with sweat. And as I lay next to him, cinching blanket after blanket around his arms, I felt an immense sense of relief. All this misery was a sign that the immune cells in his body had been riled up by the second shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, and were well on their way to guarding him from future disease.
“Side effects are a natural part of the vaccination process, as my colleague Sarah Zhang has written. Not everyone will experience them. But the two COVID-19 vaccines cleared for emergency use in the United States, made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, already have reputations for raising the hackles of the immune system: In both companies’ clinical trials, at least a third of the volunteers ended up with symptoms such as headaches and fatigue; fevers like my husband’s were less common.
“Dose No. 2 is more likely to pack a punch—in large part because the effects of the second shot build iteratively on the first.”
Click here to read this article at The Atlantic in its entirety.
“Glitchy websites, jammed phone lines and long lines outside clinics are commonplace as states expand who’s eligible to be vaccinated. The oldest Americans and those without caregivers and computer skills are at a distinct disadvantage.” (LYDIA ZURAW/KHN ILLUSTRATION; GETTY IMAGES)
by Will Stone
“The efforts to vaccinate people 65 and older have strained under the enormous demand that has overwhelmed cumbersome, inconsistent scheduling systems.
“The struggle represents a shift from the first wave of vaccinations — health care workers in health care settings — which went comparatively smoothly. Now, in most places, elderly people are pitted against one another, competing on an unstable technological playing field for limited shots.
“’You can’t have the vaccine distribution be a race between elderly people typing and younger people typing,’ said Jeremy Novich, a clinical psychologist in New York City who has begun a group to help people navigate the technology to get appointments. ‘That’s not a race. That’s just cruel.’
“While the demand is an encouraging sign of public trust in the vaccines, the challenges facing seniors also speak to the country’s fragmented approach, which has left many confused and enlisting family members to hunt down appointments.”
Continue reading this article at Kaiser Health Network, click here.
“Lack of internet access shouldn’t be a barrier to getting vaccinated.”
by Susan Nash
“The federal government’s recommendation that the COVID-19 vaccine be made available to adults aged 65 and up is a welcome step in the effort to accelerate the distribution of these life-saving shots. Unfortunately, many of the older adults most at risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19 are the least likely to have online access to vaccine information and registration options. Other forms of outreach to this population are essential to an effective vaccination effort.
“In a recent Los Angeles Times story about this problem, Donna Spratt, 82, of Cerritos, Calif., explained that she couldn’t figure out how to use county’s online system for vaccination registration.”Once you’re retired, you kind of lose contact with these things,” Spratt said. She needed to get her daughter to arrange for the appointment and her son to drive her 20+ miles to get the shot.
“The digital divide between young and old has already emerged as a critical problem during the months of sheltering in place: older people without internet access have faced increased risks from social isolation without the ability to connect even via Zoom. Internet access is also crucial to accessing essential services like grocery delivery and telehealth video visits during the pandemic.”
Click here to continue reading this opinion column at next avenue.