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‘A lot of frustration’: Online vaccine scheduling process is challenging for seniors, those who help them

With no computers, devices, or in some cases internet access, eligible Ohioans are struggling to make vaccine appointments online.
Credit: 10TV/WBNS

COLUMBUS, Ohio —
“My father is 71-years-old and my mother is 65-years-old and they use their computer basically for YouTube videos and solitaire," said Jason Grell, who lives in Columbus.

His parents are both eligible to sign up for an appointment to get vaccinated against COVID-19. It's a process though that his parents have spent hours on, every day.

“The way the pharmacies are doing it, they get into this virtual line and they have a wait time from anywhere from five minutes to an hour to an hour and a half and by the time it's their turn they have a very limited time to fill in their information, only to hit submit and get rejected because they're out of appointments," he said.

He's trying to help. But even for him, attempts to make their vaccine appointments online have been frustrating and unsuccessful.

"People are very frustrated as they've been calling us,” said Tamara James from the Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging. “We've been getting calls from people who don't have internet service or have a device, or a computer, or a cellphone.”

James said the process is also competitive.

"They would much rather prefer to pick up the phone, call someone, and get an appointment," added Becky Becker from the Franklin County Office on Aging.

For Franklin County residents, there is some support.

“As soon as we know that a clinic is opening up we push that information out to our team of case managers who are contacting their clients and helping them get registered online," Becker explained.

As for Grell, he is hopeful the state’s one-stop-shopping vaccine scheduling portal will be a huge help for his parents. It’s expected to be another few weeks before it becomes active.