Susannah Meyer, Brentwood’s newly elected city council member has been extremely helpful in getting information to our local seniors about COVID-19 and other important issues affecting our community. As a first-time politician, she hit the road running, relaying data to people in her district, especially seniors that are still sheltering-in-place.
Since the vaccine became available, there has been a flurry of phone calls for appointments, and the system is understandably slow. In fact, it is overloaded, and one must be a little aggressive and creative in one’s search for the vaccine. Last week, I shared our experience as we now wait for round number two of our shots.
Sign up wherever you can, starting with the Contra Costa country website, www.contracosta.ca.gov, as well as your local Safeway www.safeway.com/pharmacy/covid-19.html. Call your nearby CVS and Walgreens to see what their policies are and when they can fit you in. You will get an email or a call back that allows you to schedule an appointment. As a courtesy to others, make sure to keep it and then let anyone else that contacts you know you have already been scheduled so they can give it to the next person.
According to Meyer, every adult over 75 here in Brentwood and surrounding areas has gotten an appointment if they have registered. That in itself is great news but look out for each other especially any loved ones and neighbors living alone, that may not be aware of the ways to sign up. Meyers has also shared a link to an informative webinar that can be seen at http://bit.ly/thepressnet_VaccineWebinar. Lots of questions are answered.
Transportation issues for seniors who do not drive have been addressed but not solved, according to Meyers. One positive step is getting in-home caregivers vaccinated so they can provide rides to their clients. Silver Rides is like Uber but for seniors who need extra assistance with wheelchairs, walkers or any other type of guidance. This, like other ride companies, charges for their service, so ask about pricing if you call them. 1-415-861-7433. General questions about COVID-19 vaccine may be directed to the county’s multilingual call center at 1-844-729-8410.
Medi-Cal (not Medicare) offers nonmedical and nonemergency transportation, which includes rides to get the vaccine at no cost. Here is a link for some information if you are on the Medi-Cal. cchealth.org/insurance/medi-cal. To arrange transportation, Medi-Cal recipients need to contact their Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan (CCHP or Anthem Blue Cross).
A vast majority of Medi-Cal recipients in Contra Costa have CCHP as their care plan, and the phone number for CCHP is 877-800-7423. Recipients need to make arrangements at least 2 weeks before their appointment.
Meyers is excited about her new responsibilities and is anxious to reach out to anyone with questions. She encourages any groups that can give her community feedback on all issues for the district, to contact her.
A lot of her focus is getting that feedback from our senior community and invites everyone to join any of the virtual meetings regarding all local issues of concern.
You can email her at Smeyer@brentwoodca.gov for more information on those meetings that are of concern to you as well as going to the Brentwood site which is www.brentwoodca.gov for general information about our town. Surrounding towns have their own sites as well. Antioch is www.Antiochca.gov, Oakley is www.ci.oakley.ca.us and Discovery Bay is www.todb.ca.gov. One of her campaign promises was to assist seniors in our area and get information to them. She is doing what she promised.
Please remember to check on your own neighbors. Once you are vaccinated perhaps a ride for them can be helpful. Stay safe. We are getting closer to life outside the living room soon.
Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at email@example.com.