Vaccines: Seniors are being left out

Community Caregivers is working hard to make sure seniors have access to COVID vaccines. We have learned that being eligible for the vaccine does not guarantee access. Many seniors do not have smartphones, notebooks, laptops or desktops. This is the same demographic that is most vulnerable to the virus.

For those of us who can navigate the internet, finding an appointment for a vaccine has been challenging.  We have had to search various websites and complete online pre-applications so that we can access the actual application typically sent to us through other electronic communications. In this seemingly exclusive electronic effort, seniors are being left out.

Community Caregivers has a three-step approach to make sure seniors are included. First, we bring up the topic and directly ask: Do you need help getting a vaccine? We are asking this question to about 600 distinct individuals that we served in 2020.

Prior to our conversation, many seniors have not been asked the question. They, like the rest of us, need to have these discussions if for no other reason to vent some of their mounting COVID-anxiety.  

Second, if a senior is interested in obtaining a vaccine, we search to find them an appointment. We do not have access to a secret stash of vaccines, but we do have perseverance.

We, like many, have found success with a relentless effort to review the different sites over and over until we find an appointment that suits each senior. Then on their behalf, we book the appointments, collect all necessary forms, and help fill out the hard copies.  

Third, we provide transportation to and from the appointments, observing all necessary COVID precautions. We find volunteer drivers who will transport door-to-door. 

Our volunteers call in advance to make sure all the arrangements are in place and we provide the personal touch of driving seniors individually so there is no worry about traveling in a group.       

These are steps Community Caregivers is taking to assure seniors are included and protected as we get through this pandemic together. Please feel free to call our office at 518-456-2898 or email us at if you know of a senior who needs help setting up a vaccine appointment.


Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors.

Its funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging. Community Caregivers also provides services by phone in Rensselaer County to reduce isolation and make referrals for other needed services.

Editor’s note: Tony Cortese, M.S.W. coordinates services for Community Caregivers.