Vaccine Buddies Help Seniors Crush COVID
Local nonprofits team up to connect vulnerable residents with vaccinations.
Vaccines are becoming widely available in the race to crush COVID-19, but many seniors are stuck at home without a computer to sign up for an appointment or a ride to get there. Two New Haven nonprofits have teamed up to make sure these vulnerable residents receive the help they need to overcome these and other barriers.
Vaccine Buddies is a collaboration between Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven and The Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut that recently received a grant from the Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund.*
Working together, the two agencies are proactively reaching out to vulnerable seniors, many of whom are not online or able to navigate the online registration portals. The Vaccine Buddies program also helps ease the fears of people who are on the fence about getting vaccinated. Because the program works with an extremely diverse volunteer base, it offers its services in languages including Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Portuguese, and Korean.
In one recent example, a vaccine buddy connected with an 81 year-old woman from Hamden who lives by herself with no computer or smartphone. Referred by the Hamden Senior Center, her vaccine buddy helped her get an appointment, print out the paperwork and give her a ride. Without the assistance, the woman said she would have been sitting at home without any hope of getting a vaccine.
For 36 years, Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers has relied on a corps of trained and caring volunteers to provide free direct service to seniors in New Haven County.
The wife of a couple helped by the program through Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers said it was "a lifesaver," especially for her husband who is immuno-compromised due to a pre-existing, heart-related issue.
Learn more about Interfaith Volunteer Care Givers of Greater New Haven, Agency on Aging of South Central Connecticut and other local nonprofits on giveGreater.org.
Update April 1: *The Greater New Haven COVID-19 Community Fund was created via a partnership between The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and United Way of Greater New Haven.