Getting an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be the most challenging step in the process so far, which is why there are many local efforts ramping up to assist those 65 and older in securing an appointment.
“I’ll do everything in my power to embrace my grandchildren again and be with them,” said Chula Vista grandmother Romie Cervantes.
Cervantes, 82, is among the growing population of San Diego County residents who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. She said she’s thankful her daughters were able to secure her vaccine appointment and then take her to get her first shot.
“I’m excited because they kind of have been like my little protectors and they’ve been watching over me, which I really appreciate the Lord for giving me three beautiful daughters,” said Cervantes.
The vibrant grandmother said she’s proud she got vaccinated, but now her family is committed to ensuring others have the same access.
“I have a list of my senior citizens friends or people that have lost loved ones and I called all of them and told him, ‘you know I got my vaccine today you should get yours and this is why it’s important,'” she said.
The efforts are also coming from her daughters, two who are caregivers and one who works at the Chula Vista Public Library.
“A lot of the community here, especially when you’re talking about the older population, they don’t know how to use a computer or they don’t have family around to help them you know get an appointment or access the county website or MyTurn website and it’s very difficult,” explained Darlene Trujillo.
Trujillo is assisting the COVID-19 vaccine call center, where she is taking phone calls from people who need help setting up their online appointment.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “I mean, tears come to your eyes when you start thinking about those moments, so it is very rewarding to know that finally there’s an answer to this pandemic.”
County-funded community health workers, known as promotoras, will also be reaching out to people 75 and older directly to help them make vaccination appointments.
“Be a nice person, help somebody if you’ve got a computer and you’re working from home. We all know certain neighbors who they don’t have visitors or they don’t have family members to help them get vaccinated,” said Benita Martinez.
Cervantes and her daughters told NBC 7 their best advice for others is to not lose faith and to ask for help when trying to secure a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.