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Bridging the tech gap, volunteers help seniors with COVID-19 vaccine appointments

COVID-19 Metro ATL Trending

Bridging the tech gap, volunteers help seniors with COVID-19 vaccine appointments

FILE PHOTO: The DeKalb County Board of Health received 2,500 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and began vaccination of Board of Health frontline workers on Dec. 31, 2020 to be followed by long-term care facility residents and staff, and EMS personnel. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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By Logan C. Ritchie, contributor 

DeKalb County, GA — DeKalb County resident Jim Tolmach tried and failed many times to book a COVID-19 vaccine online. A retiree in his 70s, Tolmach became increasingly frustrated with the process.

“I was trying to make an appointment myself and it didn’t go anywhere. I’d get online and keep looking for an opening for me and my wife. I tried Kroger, drug stores and the health department,” said Tolmach. “We felt like if we could get a vaccine, we’d get to see our families again.”

When Tolmach grew frustrated with booking the vaccine online, he turned to his daughter. As a school teacher at Mary Lin Elementary School, she didn’t have the time to help — but her room parent did.

Meet Lynley Teras, a lawyer and mom of three, known in her Candler Park neighborhood as a “Vaccine Queen.” Teras has helped about 20 seniors so far, and this week she became a moderator of a Facebook page called GA COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Info. The name has since changed to GA Covid Vax Appt Help.

The purpose of the group is to match seniors who need appointments with volunteers who want to help. The goals is to get shots into arms, said Teras.

Teras’ parents struggled with booking a vaccine appointment online, even though she said they are “tech savvy enough.” Seniors who use cell phones and computers daily, they felt helpless and overwhelmed by the process.

To help, Teras hopped online and made appointments for her parents and in-laws, then began helping family friends. The word in her community was out.

To read the full story on the Tucker Observer, click here.

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