CU med students are helping older Coloradans get vaccine appointments

COVID-19 Vaccine

AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — Older and underserved Coloradans are getting help making COVID-19 vaccine appointments, thanks to medical students at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

Clinton Cheeseboro, who’s 87 years old and has lived in Park Hill for more than three decades, is one of them.

“I’d been calling trying to figure out,” Cheeseboro said of trying to get an appointment. “I was just wondering what was going on.”

Cheeseboro didn’t have any luck for a few weeks. He doesn’t have very good internet service at his home and struggled to get on the many websites available to sign up for vaccines.

He’s not alone. While more than 600,000 people in Colorado who are 70 and older have received one or both shots, thousands more haven’t.

This is where the UCHealth Seniors Clinic and the medical students come in.

“We are very excited to spend time one by one, reaching out to our patients and we are using any means possible,” said Dr. Hillary Lum, a geriatrician at the clinic.

She helped organize about 30 medical students to reach out directly to about 1,000 UCHealth patients, answer any vaccine questions they might have and help make their appointments.

About a month ago, Cheeseboro received his call.

“I kept waiting and waiting and waiting finally I got one,” he said with a smile.

Cheeseboro is about to get his second shot and will feel more comfortable going to visit his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Meanwhile, doctors know their work is not done.

“I still worry we are not reaching out to everyone,” Lum said. “I know there are individuals in our clinic and our community that don’t yet know how to get a vaccine and have questions about it.”

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