101-year-old Pa. resident gets COVID shot, but had obstacles getting one

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A 101-year-old got his first COVID vaccine shot Tuesday evening, but he had some issues getting to this point, and his son thinks more needs to be done to help older Pennsylvanians get that vaccine.

“We don’t want him falling, so we try to pull our resources to get him to where he needs to go,” Alan Rotz said.

Rotz is talking about his father, 101-year-old Percy Rotz, who lives in Chambersburg alone.

“Dad’s very hard of hearing, so in addition to not having internet when he makes phone calls…” Rotz said.

It’s much harder for Percy to understand over the phone, a trifecta of sorts, that made it especially difficult for him to schedule his COVID vaccine appointment. So Alan took matters into his own hands and scheduled the appointment for his dad at a local Weis Pharmacy.

“A number of appointments were available when I got online about 5:05, and I grabbed one for dad,” Rotz said.

The state Department of Health has a toll-free number at 877-PA-HEALTH, where staff can answer questions, and guide those without internet access through the process of finding a vaccine provider, but they can’t make the appointment for them. But Alan thinks more could be done to help older Pennsylvanians, like his dad.

“If they would publish where those are available, and how they have to sign up, it would take a lot of the mystery out of it,” Rotz said.

Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania still does not have a centralized online portal to register for the vaccine. Instead, the state Department of Health has a map of vaccine providers on its website, and you have to contact the provider directly.

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