Neighbors, volunteers push to help seniors get vaccinated in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- While Pennsylvanians continue to get vaccinated amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many elderly residents find themselves unable to get to the front of the line.

This has been especially challenging for those in the hardest-hit zip codes in Philadelphia, some say.

"This will be my fifth trip taking someone," said Dolores Gardner.

The South Philadelphia block captain has been transporting her elderly neighbors to vaccination sites throughout the city for the last two weeks. Making sure those who have no way to get around can still get the shot.

"If they need a ride, I'm available to take them. I don't mind because it's very important," Gardner said.

In West Philadelphia, a grassroots effort is growing, calling for volunteers to canvass hardest hit zip codes to connect with the elderly and get them signed up for an appointment.

"We know there's a limited number of places you can get a vaccine, but also the process for signing up has been very hectic," said Tess Kerins, with Vaccinate West / Southwest Philly. "We're going to have paper registration forms where people can sign up with our canvassers at the door."

Volunteers will pound the pavement on Saturday, while outreach has already started in sections of South Philadelphia.

"Getting into the neighborhoods, knocking on doors, having conversations will help us combat what we're trying to fight with so many young people being able to jump the line and get their access through the internet," said councilmember Jamie Gauthier.

Volunteers will be trained and then go door to door in the hardest-hit neighborhoods to reach out to seniors.

This effort will continue for the next three weeks.
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