January 27th, 2021

Classroom Resource: How to sign an older relative or community member up for the COVID vaccine

Screenshot from Virginia Department of Health registration portal.



Teacher’s Note: We heard a great suggestion from a teacher on Twitter who said that a good extension activity might be for students to help an older person sign up for the COVID vaccine. We decided to try it ourselves for a relative in Virginia who is 80-years-old and still lives at home by himself. Here is what we took away from this task:

  • Your students will learn a great deal about media literacy, patience (while experiencing some frustration, as we did) and how local and state government works.
  • We started off on Google, of course, by typing in “How to get the COVID vaccine” which led us to the Business Insider article. We had to click through many screens (we posted screenshots here), but the 20-25 minute task was well worth it. With guidance and practice, young people could help senior citizens and others who have difficulty navigating computer sign-ups to move toward scheduling a vaccine.

Start off by asking your students: Do you know anyone in the community who might be eligible for the vaccine but might not know how to sign up? What is a good way to get that information to these people?

You may want to show students our process.

  • Go online and type in “How to sign up for the COVID vaccine.” We did it and came across this Business Insider article: How to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment
      • From there, it is suggested you “Check with your state’s Department of Health website for registration sites and eligibility status.”

  • Click on “Find out Which Phase You Are Eligible For.”
    • After clicking through several screens to figure out how to sign up a person who is 75 years or older, we were directed here:

  • It’s necessary to click on the link to your LOCAL health department’s website (that is the county in which the person lives).
  • We typed in our zip code “Alexandria City County” and were directed here.

  • We clicked on “Get Vaccinated” and came across this page:

  • We clicked on “For updates on COVID-19, visit (see tiny letters above) under “All Alexandria Health Department Clinical Services by Appointment Only,” and came across another screen where we clicked on “Vaccines Are Here — Learn More.”

  • This is the page we landed on:

  • We clicked on “Pre-register for Vaccines” and came across this page where we were finally allowed to sign our loved one up who is over the age of 75.

Ask your students: What skills did it take to finally find the COVID vaccine registration page in my county?

  • Who do you think might have difficulty signing up through the system you found, and how could those people be assisted (either by local authorities, non-profits or friends and family members)?
  • How do they feel once they’ve accomplished this task? Was the process easy or hard?

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