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U.S. citizens over the age of 50 are one of the populations most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, not only in terms of infection but also in terms of quality of life. Depositphotos
U.S. citizens over the age of 50 are one of the populations most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, not only in terms of infection but also in terms of quality of life. Depositphotos

Protecting our older Latinos against COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put limitations on all aspects of American life over the last year, with our friends, family, and neighbors over the age of 50 coping with the brunt of the impact. Some 95 percent of Americans killed by COVID-19 were 50+. 

AARP, an organization that advocates on national, state, and local issues that matter most to the 50+ community, has been at the forefront, fighting for older Americans who have been disparately impacted by the pandemic. 

AARP Pennsylvania has been providing the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the distribution of the vaccines — the most powerful tool in getting everything back to normal.

Vaccine supplies are limited everywhere and available only to those now eligible under each state’s phased plan.

In Pennsylvania, residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, people 65 and older, and people of all ages with high-risk conditions such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, and heart conditions are eligible to receive the vaccine. It is important to note that Philadelphia County receives independent federal funding and is devising its own distribution roadmap, which roughly mirrors the state plan. The city's COVID-19 website has more information about getting a vaccine.

Vaccinations are handled by health clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and others. You can call your primary care provider or check the websites of CVS, Rite Aid, Weis Markets, Wegmans, and Giant Eagle to see if vaccine appointments are available.

You can also call the health department at 877-724-3258 toll-free or use the Your Turn eligibility tool to see if you can get a vaccine and sign up for vaccine updates from the health department. 

You should not have any out-of-pocket cost for getting the vaccine. AARP, amongst many others, fought to make sure the federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine itself.

The COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. If you get one of these, you’ll need a follow-up dose to be effectively immunized. The recommended second-shot date is three weeks after a first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and four weeks for Moderna’s, but the CDC says an interval of up to six weeks is acceptable. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires just one shot. You can learn more here about how the three available vaccines compare.

You should get a card from your provider stating when and where to return for the second dose. The state says it will send reminders via text, emails, and phone calls. 

As more information comes out, AARP Pennsylvania will continue sharing the latest updates, both on its website and through its partnership with AL DÍA News. 

An exciting part of Al DÍA and AARP Pennsylvania’s partnership will feature hosting a roundtable conversation on COVID-19 Vaccine education. 

Hear from AARP Pennsylvania, medical professionals, and community leaders to learn about the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, how older Pennsylvanians – particularly communities of color – are impacted, and resources that are available. Learn more and register here for the event coming up on March 30th at 11 am EST.

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