As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines continues and the priority has shifted to vaccinate California’s older adults, we’re starting to hear of access barriers for people with limited English proficiency (LEP).
For example, our partners at Justice in Aging recently notified us of stories of older adults needing to rely on bilingual family members to make vaccine appointments because the app was only available in English. They have also heard about an In-Home Support Services (IHSS) provider who was confused after her first shot because the follow-up instructions were only in English and no interpretation was provided, nor were any materials made available in her language.
This is not right. All civil rights laws applicable to health care apply to this vaccine rollout as well. Older adults with limited English proficiency should be given meaningful access to language assistance services when getting a vaccine, including interpretation services and translated materials when appropriate.
If you, your clients or your loved ones have heard of or encountered any language barriers to accessing the COVID-19 vaccine, we want to know. Please report such barriers to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on vaccinations in California, see: Vaccinations for Older Adults in CA: What We Now Know. You can also visit California’s Vaccinate All 58 website.