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Vaccinate NEPA: Lackawanna County sets up vaccine appointment service by phone for seniors

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — As we’ve seen during this pandemic, seniors are considered the most vulnerable population to the effects of COVID-19. People 65 and older qualify for the vaccine, but finding it has been a struggle for so many.

Lackawanna County has come up with a three digit option that’s helping seniors get those shots.

They are the three numbers qualifying seniors in Lackawanna County can dial to get signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine. Those numbers are 211 and they’re helping hundreds and hundreds of seniors struggling with the enrollment process.

“They don’t necessarily have easy access through the internet. They don’t necessarily have technology at their fingertips and some of them aren’t tech savvy,” said Jason Kavulich, director of area Agency on Aging.

Lackawanna County teamed up with Family Service Association of NEPA to take those calls and do all the leg work. Kavulich says 931 vaccines were scheduled last week during the program launch. The response is so overwhelming, callers may need to allow extra time to stay on the line.

“We’re not dealing with telemarketers here. We’re dealing with caseworkers and caseworkers are going to help you and talk to you like a person. They’re going to connect you to everything that you need and answer all your questions and not just have three minutes on the phone with you to get your appointment scheduled and get to the next person,” said Kavulich.

Part of the free service is lining up seniors with a single vaccine provider when they may have signed up for several.

“If an individual has gotten onto multiple lists and it’s taking them an hour or so to get through to each one of those lists, they are certainly not going to turn around and spend the same amount of time getting themselves off a list. We’re going to take care of that for them,” said Brian Jeffers, chief of staff in Lackawanna County.

The 211 service is partnering with six Lackawanna County providers including Scranton Primary Health Care Center which is providing the COVID-19 vaccine to the community. Even though Jim and Karen Reid didn’t go through the 211 system to get their vaccine, they are glad the service exists.

“We’re thrilled to get it but obviously we want everybody to get it and you know the more people can get it obviously the better it is for everyone,” said Jim Reid, COVID vaccine recepient.

Participating providers include:

  • DePietro’s Pharmacy
  • Old Forge Pharmacy
  • Hometown Health Care of NEPA
  • Medicap Pharmacy
  • The Prescription Center
  • The Clinics at Scranton Primary Health Care Center

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