Some US states that are reaching the elderly population include Florida and California. Both states offer mobile clinics and partner with transportation providers to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to the elderly.
- Florida is home to 4.5 million seniors. The state has partnered with Publix Supermarkets (people’s local supermarket) to bring the vaccine close to them. According to Florida’s governor, DeSantis, the state has over 100 Publix locations offering vaccines to elders in their community. It is still planning to expand its partnership with Publix Supermarkets to reach more counties throughout the state.
- In addition to Publix, Florida utilises places of worship, state-run vaccination sites, partnering with senior living communities, and deploying strike teams to increase vaccine access statewide.
- County health departments and hospitals across the state deliver the vaccine to seniors. And to reach the elderly population, some Florida counties are sending mobile vaccination units (vaccination drive) to their locations to get a vaccine close to their homes. However, some counties, such as Flagler, Marion, Lake, Sumter, and Orange, provide transportation for the seniors who cannot drive or are homebound to get them to and from vaccination centers. These counties are either partnering with transportation providers, such as Uber and Lyft, or using county vehicles, i.e., County Transit Vehicles.
- The state is also doing an interfaith vaccination drive where it partners with religious leaders who help it deliver vaccination shots to seniors.
- As of the 4th of February, Florida had the highest vaccination rate (29%) among the elderly population in the USA.
- To date, over 1.9 million seniors who are above 65 years have been vaccinated in Florida. This represents about 44% of Florida’s total senior population and makes up more than 75% of the state’s vaccinations.
- On January 8, 2021, the state began vaccinating all residents above 65 years. This is because this age group makes up most hospitalizations and about three-quarters of the COVID-19 deaths in California. The state has over 6 million people who are above 65 years.
- Apart from a vaccination site at Cal State Los Angeles, California has opened two new mass vaccination centers. One is on the Eastside of Los Angeles, and the other is located at the Oakland Coliseum. They provide a vaccine to the elderly population with limited access to transportation and struggle to get to vaccination sites.
- The center at Cal State Los Angeles has a drive-through vaccination site and a walk-up facility near the school’s transit hub. Additionally, mobile units have been deployed into nearby communities so that many seniors can get vaccinated. In the hardest-hit communities, LA county has been sending out mobile vaccine teams to vaccinate homebound seniors.
- According to José A. Gómez, Cal State L.A. provost and Executive Vice President, “Folks that don’t have transportation can come to Cal State L.A. and, using public transportation, can get their vaccine.” Also, state officials working with various transportation providers, including L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Uber, and Lyft, to secure vouchers for vulnerable residents, such as seniors, who don’t have easy access to transit to the vaccination sites.
- The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors said the following regarding the providence of transport for the seniors to the vaccine sites, “With inclement weather, limited appointment availability and a limited but growing number of vaccine sites, the county has a responsibility to partner with transportation operators, authorities and companies to ensure community members, particularly those 65 and older, can access our vaccination sites with ease.”
- Other counties, for example, Sacramento and Irvine, in California, are also providing mobile clinics and free rides for the seniors to get a COVID-19 vaccine easily.