“Those are the hardest to reach people, and those are the ones we need to work hardest to get to, either to bring them to vaccination centers or to bring the vaccines to them,” she said.
Aurelia Jones-Taylor, CEO of Aaron E. Henry Community Health Services Center, Inc. in Clarksdale, said one of the major helps — but sometimes barriers — to getting older adults vaccinated is family members. Some encourage their relatives, helping them with rides to clinics and making sure they get their shots.
But in many cases, younger family members are misinformed about the vaccine and discourage older relatives from getting it. Aside from that, older adults can be harder to reach because they aren’t savvy on social media and live alone.
“They are stuck in the house, and they are fearful,” Jones-Taylor said. “We have to overcome the fear.”
According to the CDC, seniors, depending on their age, are between 1,300 and 8,700 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than 5-17 year-olds, and they make up more than 80% of the 559,000 U.S. fatalities due to the virus.
One major help in Mississippi – especially among older adults – is the encouragement of pastors and church communities, Jones-Taylor said.