Having Trouble Finding COVID-19 Vaccine Information in Languages Other Than English?

masked woman receiving covid vaccine

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 comments@cahealthadvocates.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.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.