Master of Social Work student helps seniors get vaccinated

Image: Alexandra Birner, first-year Master of Social Work student
Alexandra Birner, first-year Master of Social Work student
By Andrea Garthwaite

March 8, 2021

With the demand for COVID-19 vaccinations at an all-time high, it has become difficult for senior citizens to secure an appointment. Alexandra Birner, a first-year student in the Master of Social Work program, is working with seniors in Upstate New York, doing what she can to make the process easier and help them get vaccinated.

As part of her field placement internship, Birner began working for Care Manage for All LLC in January and has been doing home visits for the aging population to provide social and emotional support during this period of severe isolation.

Through her interactions with clients, Birner discovered that getting appointments is a difficult task. “I am constantly on the lookout for more vaccination sites and appointments in Broome and Tompkins Counties for clients,” she said. “They are a very vulnerable population, and I want to keep them as safe and healthy as possible.” 

Senior citizens are the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and have priority when getting appointments, but scheduling the appointments is often difficult for them since it needs to be done online in most cases. Following that, they often need help actually getting to the vaccination clinic. That’s where Birner steps in.

“I drive them to and from their appointments and stay with them to help them along the way with anything they need, whether it’s reading signs, helping them walk in or helping to fill out paperwork,” she said.

She describes the experience of working with Care Manage for All LLC as humbling and rewarding. “The aging population is something that I am passionate about advocating for and serving,” she said. She is glad for the opportunity to give back to the community through a company that has the same values as her — one that upholds strong social work values and stays client-centered. 

“Working with the elderly population is amazing,” Birner said. “They have so much wisdom and knowledge to share, and I am glad to have the opportunity to listen and learn from them, as they do from me, as well.”