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Ohio Taking Vaccinations To Affordable Senior Housing

In an effort to provide vaccine equity, Ohio is launching a program that targets some 97,000 Ohioans living in affordable senior housing.

Department of Aging director Ursel McElroy says the Regional Rapid Response Assistance Program has identified 1,300 high-density sites in urban and rual areas, to bring the vaccines to seniors who may may have transportation issues, difficulty scheduling appointments online, or other barriers to get the vaccine.  Ohio National Guard members are coordinating volunteers and administering the shots.  McElroy says local Area Agency on Aging staff will take the opportunity to conduct isolation screenings.

"Many of the older adults have been staying at home.  They've done some of the things that we asked them to do. And they've not spent a lot of time maybe with some of the people they're used to. And so we also  know that those who are isolated and feeling lonely, they have higher risk for heart disease or stroke, dementia, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or perhaps even premature death.  So when we go out we are looking to do these important screenings, not only for isolation, but other red flags.  And we're looking for anything that indicates that and individual who comes thruough our line may need to connect with additional resources."
McElroy says it's an opportunity to link seniors living on their own to services that they often miss out on.  According to the state coronavirus dashboard, over half of Ohioans over 80, and a third of those 7- to 79, have received at least the first shot of the vaccine.

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.
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