Seniors near front of the line for COVID-19 vaccine, but will they take it?

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By Laura Anthony, ABC7 News, December 14 2020

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) — Senior citizens are near the front of the line when it comes to getting the coronavirus vaccine. ABC7 News talked to some who are all for it, and others, who are more hesitant.

“Whenever they bring it, I’ll take it,” said Dwyn Gardner without hesitation.

The 89-year-old lives at Walnut Creek’s Byron Park, a senior community that includes both and assisted and independent living .

“We are excited that relief is on the way,” said Jennifer Pastora, Byron Park’s Executive Director. “It’s is going to be administered comparable to our annual flu clinics. We have partnered with CVS. They will come in and we will make sure everything is set up in advance,” she explained.

Pleasant Hill’s Choice in Aging and its Mt. Diablo Center for Adult Day Health Care serve a different senior population, those not living inside a nursing home, skilled nursing facility or senior community like Byron Park. Many of them live alone.

“We are going to work together to make sure we have a massive public media campaign that addresses this population in the mediums that they use,” explained Debbie Toth, President and CEO of Choice in Aging. “Not Twitter, not Facebook, not necessarily through their text messaging, but really looking at where they get their news and information. Is it print media? Is it their church? Is it local news stations?”

Others who advocate for seniors worry a glitch could arise when it comes time to actually administer the vaccine to individual seniors.

“For people who are living in congregate living facilities, I would say I want to talk to my son, or my daughter or my spouse, about whether I should do this,” said Mike Dark, staff attorney for California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, who also serves on the Vaccine Advisory Committee. “And it is very difficult for families to have those conversations right now.”

Dwyn Gardner told us she’ll do her part to put her friends and neighbors at ease.

“There are some who say they hate shots,” said Gardner, “but I have heard the needles are very sharp, so that means it shouldn’t hurt that much.”