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Senior Older and Wiser By June Michel

COVID-19 VACCINES ARE FINALLY AVAILABLE FOR SENIORS Just in time. The U.S. has lost over 4,000 people to the coronavirus pandemic. But for seniors the motivating factor is that COVID-19 is not an equal opportunity killer, 80% of all deaths are in seniors over 60. So that means the nation has already lost over 3,200 seniors over age 60 compared to 800 individuals under 60. This jaw dropping death rate for seniors is why we are the State's vaccination priority right after the medical community.

THREE STEPS TO RECEIVE VACCINE: The Washington vaccine distribution is scheduled in phases. The first phase was set aside for doctors, nurses, other medical workers and people in long term care facilities. Our phase 2A opened on Tuesday, January 19. Because it's a two shot vaccine and the second shot is given twenty days after the first, accurate record keeping and scheduling is essential. For this reason, Microsoft has joined the effort to ensure reliable scheduling. The three steps are establish eligibility on Phase Finder, submit your email address for appointment and receive your shot at your scheduled appointment. Signing up with Phase Finder is a quick ten minute internet process but if you do not have internet access, the current advice is to contact your local Senior Center for vaccine assistance.

1. ESTABLISH YOUR ELIGIBILITY ON PHASE FINDER: Step one is to fill in a survey on Phase Finder. Here is the link:

This survey will ask you basic health questions, your age and your zip code. At the end, click on submit and you should receive a big blue box with a green check mark and statement "You are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine now." This is your proof of eligibility. You are required to show the proof of eligibility in order to receive your vaccine. You can take a photo of it or print it or email it to yourself but in some way you need to preserve your proof of eligibility.

2. KING COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY At the bottom of the blue box proof of eligibility it says "please visit" and there is underlined text. Click on the underlined text and depending on your zipcode, you will automatically be sent either to a list of available vaccination locations or, in King County your scheduling will be handled by the King County Medical Society (KCMS). The King County Medical Society will evaluate individual health status from the Phase Finder survey and categorise applicants based on underlying health risks. They will need both your telephone number and your email address. Then they will send you a confirming email stating "once space becomes available in your vaccine category, and your zip code, KCMS will reach out to you directly." This is the message I received. By comparison, my neighbor who has several health issues has already received her shot appointment.

3. GET YOUR SHOT. You will need both your proof of eligibility and a driver's license or other form of identification. Present them. Receive your life saving vaccination and calendar 20 days so you receive your second shot. You are not required to present your medical records, just your ID and proof of eligibility. Good luck.

Remember, you read about it in The Facts Newspaper.