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Red tape facing the elderly in need of the COVID-19 vaccine.

At Hillcrest High School in Queens on Wednesday, the city-run vaccination hub, a number of people registered through the state website were told by health department officials that they were in the wrong place, and Must visit the community The health center, located in the former firehouse, is about half a mile away.

Struggling with their phones, few people fail to generate an appointment identification number for health workers or a matching QR code that will confirm their appointment. Employees in blue coats help eliminate confusion and, in some cases, schedule appointments for people who think they’ve already scheduled them.

“Some people don’t even have computers,” said Hilary Umans, who brought her mother Priscilla to vaccinate. “What if you don’t have a smartphone? What if you are not a native English speaker? “

City health commissioner Dave Chokshi said in a city council hearing on Tuesday that separate registration systems could not help to some extent: each of the big players in the effort had a medical system. Separate records in which vaccination schedules must be linked. Each participating Urgent Care also has its own scheduling system, just like Costco, Rite Aid, and many other providers.

The city is trying to streamline its registration system to make it easier, he said. But it hasn’t announced how it will tackle the other big challenges of getting vulnerable adults without having to travel safely to vaccine appointments and how to reach tens of thousands of old New Yorkers in the city.

“We have to make sure that the experience, especially for our elderly, as well as the vulnerable, is as easy as possible,” said Dr. Chockee.

Now, many older people have received help from friends and relatives. But even then, success is not guaranteed. In Riverdale in the Bronx, Annette Gaudino, who works as policy director for a health advocacy organization, attempted to register her 95-year-old mother for two days, inspecting a number of locations. She’s not sure if she will be allowed to go on a date.

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