Story provided by Stillwater Public Library
Stillwater seniors having difficulty finding a COVID-19 vaccination appointment due to technology barriers can get assistance at the Stillwater Public Library. The library’s “Senior Vaccination Assistance” program serves Stillwater community members 65 and older who do not have continuing access to the technology needed to make an appointment.
According to Library Director Stacy Delano, librarians began assisting community members with obtaining an email account and registering on the Oklahoma State Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine registration portal the day it opened.
“We soon learned that helping people get registered and approved on the portal was not going to be enough,” DeLano said. “Finding an appointment may take hours of searching, and searching requires continuing access to technology and the skills to use it. Some Stillwater seniors do not have the required access and do not have someone to help them, so we are offering help.”
Seniors who qualify for the appointment searching assistance will be registered on the vaccination portal by phone, and then notified when librarians have secured their appointment. To start the process, seniors must make an initial visit to the library to show identification, complete a short intake questionnaire and pick up the packet of questions that will be asked on the phone. Seniors who are confined to their home due to disability, may telephone the library at 405-372-3633 x8106 to complete the intake process.
DeLano asks that only people who meet specific criteria start the intake process.
“We have limited staff time to devote to searching for appointments, so it is essential the time be reserved for seniors who have no other means of getting help.”
The program is open to those who meet the following criteria:
· Stillwater resident
· Age 65 or older
· Able to accept an appointment at any time or day of the week
· Do not have continuing access to computer or smart phone and internet
· Do not have a friend or family member who can regularly help with searching
For those who do not qualify for “Senior Vaccination Assistance,” DeLano says there are a few practices seniors might follow to increase the chances of finding an appointment to book:
· Spend additional time searching on Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings when health departments post the week’s new appointment batches
· Search the portal multiple times a day, every day because cancelled appointments can show up throughout the week
· Consider extending the distance you are a willing to drive
· Visit https://vaccine-alerts.com to sign up for text or email alerts showing new batches of appointments posted in the portal. Please be aware that this site is not affiliated with the Oklahoma State Health Department.
Seniors with access to devices and the internet who may need a few tips on navigating to the vaccination portal or setting and checking email can also stop by or call the Help Desk at (405) 372-3633 x8106 to get assistance.
The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. Library hours are Monday- Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.