Seniors/Aging Individuals

No internet, no vaccine: How lack of internet has limited vaccine access for racial minorities

Racial and ethnic minority communities that lack internet access have been left behind in the race to get a COVID-19 vaccine. We are researchers who study health disparities. We are concerned that even when vaccinations are offered in these communities, those at greatest risk for COVID-19 may be unable to obtain appointments without the help of family or friends. This includes racial and ethnic minority communities and older adults, the age group that is currently being vaccinated. Our research suggests that lack of internet access may be an important reason.

To vaccinate America, close the digital divide

All over the country people in the over 65-year-old age group are having issues registering to receive the vaccine. As states and municipalities launch rollouts through shiny portals on their websites, it appears that the seemingly mundane issue of basic internet use and access threatens to bring vaccine distribution to a halt in many communities. This goes beyond technical bugs, or even the ‘usability’ of the websites. It’s about access — to the hardware, to the software, to the knowledge of how to interact with technology, to a robust internet connection and to Wi-Fi.

A big hurdle for older Americans trying to get vaccinated: Using the internet

The US is racing to vaccinate millions of people for Covid-19, but online appointment registration systems are slowing down or preventing access to vaccinations for some of the people most vulnerable to the virus: older Americans. Nearly 30 percent of people in the US over the age of 65 do not use the internet, and more than 40 percent did not have broadband access at home. For older adults, broadband internet access isn’t the only hurdle, explains Becky Preve, who directs New York’s Association on Aging.

Aging Connected: Closing the Connectivity Gap for Older Americans

OATS, in partnership with the Humana Foundation, for the first time quantifies the size and degree of the digital isolation crisis among seniors in the United States, finding nearly 22 million older Americans continue to lack broadband access at home. Key findings:

Older adults struggle to access COVID-19 vaccine appointment websites

Buggy websites and complex online tools are being used to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments across the United States. The systems are hard to navigate for many people, but they’re particularly inaccessible for older adults.

Commissioner Starks Keynote Remarks at Rainbow PUSH Coalition Symposium

Our failure to create inclusive policies that close the digital divide has done serious harm to the Americans who were already struggling to put food on their tables prior to the pandemic. The failures of our past, however, do not have to dictate the future. It is time—in fact, it is past,time—for the tech and telecom sector to take account for issues of equity and fairness. 

Access to Telemedicine Is Hardest for Those Who Need It Most

When it comes to telemedicine in 2020—and thanks to coronavirus, 2020 turns out to be the year for telemedicine—the digital divide isn’t equally distributed. In the early days of the pandemic, the federal government says, 44 percent of Medicare-funded primary care visits were conducted virtually; that figure was 0.1 percent in Feb.

Slow internet? How digital redlining hurts people of all ages

As schools now explore virtual education and hospitals expand to digital platforms as viable and safe options during the time of COVID-19, the focus on adequate internet access has moved to center stage. In 2018, rural North Dakota residents had access to better internet service than residents of Englewood in Chicago. A recent report showed that in some parts of Chicago, as many as half of children lack the necessary access to broadband needed to engage in the online educational activities expected of them during the COVID-19 academic disruption.

Determinants of mobile broadband use in developing economies: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

Broadband is seen as a vector of economic growth and social development. In the developing world, mobile technologies are widely adopted and mobile broadband is progressively rolled-out with high expectations on its impact on the countries’ development. We highlight what the determinants of mobile broadband use are in four Sub-Saharan countries. Using micro-level data coming from household surveys over 5 years, from 2013 to 2017, we show that SIM card ownership and being part of an online social community has a strong positive impact on mobile broadband use.

AARP Requests FCC Action During COVID-19 Crisis

The pandemic has highlighted the pressing need for high quality fixed and mobile voice and broadband services that are affordable, reliable, and robust. In the near term, there are immediate measures that the Federal Communications Commission can take to provide relief to Americans at this critical time: