Seniors have experienced world wars, civil upheavals, and world-changing advancements in medicine and technology.
Unfortunately, they have also been the population hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, with seniors facing a significant risk of developing a severe case if they contract the virus due to other underlying health conditions that are common among older adults.
That’s why we are working to educate people about the importance of widespread COVID-19 testing to keep the virus under control. While seniors were the first to have access to the COVID-19 vaccines, the reality is that there are many who remain unvaccinated, whether it’s due to lack of access, mistrust, or because they are immunocompromised. For these groups, testing is an essential tool for keeping them healthy and preventing them from spreading the virus to others. Some seniors may not experience any COVID symptoms, so they don’t know they are infected, which increases the risk of spreading it to their spouse, children, and members of their community.
It's important that we all know our COVID status. Testing using a PCR or antigen test can show if you have an active infection, while an antibody test can reveal if you've had COVID-19 in the past, even if you didn’t have symptoms.
So what actions can people take to protect the seniors in their lives, whether it’s a parent, grandparent, neighbor, clergy person, or friend? We have a few suggestions:
- Encourage them to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. If transportation is an obstacle, offer to give them a ride to and from the vaccination site--and make sure they have enough food and water readily available if they experience side effects over the following days. To find a COVID-19 vaccine, search vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.
- Provide information about the safety of the vaccine to those who may be hesitant to get vaccinated.
- If they cannot get vaccinated due to underlying health issues, help them identify a trusted source of COVID-19 testing so they know their status before attending large gatherings or traveling to see family and friends. Visit your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department’s website to look for the latest local information on testing.
For the first time in more than a year, some normalcy has begun to return to our lives. But as we enjoy the simple pleasures of hugging a friend or eating at a favorite restaurant, let’s not lose sight of the fact that COVID-19 remains and that ongoing testing is needed to keep it in check.
For more information on COVID testing options, visit https://www.actagainstcovid.com/.