CHICAGO (CBS) — The City of Chicago is trying to smooth out the COVID-19 vaccine sign-up process, and on Tuesday announced a partnership with Zocdoc. The vaccine-scheduling system comes at a time when frustrations are sky-high.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory shares some dizzying heights the elderly are having to go to for the shot.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup
Edith Thomas’s next ticket? Hopefully to freedom via the COVID-19 vaccine.
“She’s very frustrated right now, because she wants to get out and she wants to be with her friends,” said her daughter, Lisa Thomas.
Forget finding an appointment; Lisa can’t even get her 90-year-old mom a code to get on the vaccine waiting list at her hospital.
“When I asked how do you receive a code? They told me either through text, email, or phone,” Lisa said.
But her fashionista mother is old school; no smart phone or computer.
“And she’s hard of hearing. So I said, ‘I’m her daughter. I’m her advocate. Is there is any possible way I could receive the code?’ And they told me, ‘No,’” Lisa said.
Patricia and Bob Gattuso are one step ahead (with a code) but still stuck, and checking for appointments 2 to 3 times a day.
“I mean, I’ve even done it at midnight,” Patricia said.
Meijer, Jewel-Osco, Walgreens; all have no appointments available.
The Gattusos said they would consider waiting in line like we’ve seen seniors in Florida do, but, “With Bob on oxygen, he just has a portable unit which isn’t high flow, and it lasts like an hour. So that’s another frustration,” Patricia said.
Courtney Hedderman, the Associate State Director for AARP Illinois, said for seniors, especially, the vaccine rollout “is not working.”READ MORE: Northwestern Alums Create 'The Seeker,' A Highly Accurate Football Thrower They Call A Robotic QB
So Hederman and the AARP penned a letter to Gov. JB Pritzker offering solutions.
The top suggestion: better communication.
“We were suggesting using the senior helpline number, which is a toll-free number, which is the one place where they can get all the information they need,” Hedderman said.
Unfortunately, the best advice beyond that is to stay patient.
“It’s like Hunger Games out there,” Hedderman said.
Hedderman knows on a personal level.
“I had five devices in front of me,” she said. And she spent hours clicking “refresh” on all of them to find a vaccine for her mother.
She managed to get her mom an appointment, which provided a shot of hope for the Gattusos, but gathering multiple smartphones isn’t going to work for people like 90-year-old Edith, who don’t have them.
After CBS 2 called her healthcare provider, Advocate Aurora Health found an appointment for her on Thursday. A hospital spokesperson said physical letters will eventually be added as a way to communicate with the elderly about vaccine appointments, but snail mail makes it tricky to match patients with supply.
“Our team is working tirelessly on the front lines and behind the scenes to help end this pandemic. We are focused on ensuring fair and equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and contact our patients directly via email, phone, text or direct mail when it’s their turn to make an appointment.
“When patients are notified that they are eligible to schedule their vaccination, they are provided a step-by-step guide to navigate the process via our LiveWell app. They’re also provided a help line telephone number where technology ambassadors are available to assist in scheduling appointments through the app. Appointments also can be scheduled over the phone for those unable to access our digital tools. If an eligible patient does not have an email address on file, we will contact them via phone call, text message or direct mail to assist them with scheduling.”
We’ve put together several links to help you find the vaccine in our area:MORE NEWS: Cariacature Artist, Substitute Teacher Says She Keeps Trying To Reach Illinois Unemployment Office -- Only To Have Calls Dropped