Tarrytown Pharmacy steps in to help blind, deaf communities amid COVID vaccine challenges

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — COVID-19 vaccine doses are rolling out faster than ever before, but there are still issues with getting an appointment — especially for those who are blind or deaf.

“Anyone that has tried to find a vaccine knows that it is a challenge,” said Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired superintendent Emily Coleman.

Coleman says signing up for the vaccine hasn’t been easy for the blind community.

“When you are using screen reader software even that just takes time so it needs some work,” Coleman said.

Mili Martinez, a student at TSBVI, says when she tried to sign up, she was met with a number of challenges.

“The website for the county that I live in was not very accessible, and it wouldn’t let me get into the sign-in page,” Martinez said.

Megan Fayard, also a student at TSBVI, was able to sign up but needed some help from someone else.

“I had to have someone with me,” Fayard said.

Tarrytown Pharmacy heard about the issues and wanted to help. They are setting up two vaccine clinics to facilitate the blind and deaf community.

“We are more than happy to jump in and help because it is such a need and a big thing for these patients to be vaccinated,” said Tarrytown Pharmacy’s Rannon Ching. “We don’t want them to be left behind because of accessibility issues.”

One location will be held at the Texas School for the Blind and Visually impaired and the other will be held at the Texas School for the Deaf. This is an appointment-only event that will allow about 85 people from TSBVI and about 1,400 from TSD to be vaccinated.

TSD Superintendent Claire Bugen says her students and the deaf community have also run into issues when trying to sign up, like having access to interpreting services. That’s one reason why Bugen is excited to have Tarrytown Pharmacy set up a clinic at the school.

TSD and TSBVI will have interpreters on site to help answer any questions.

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