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Desperately Seeking Septuagenarian: Vaccine Buddy System Sets Off Old Rush

Margaret Bibbo, 66, a church secretary and cancer survivor, had brought in an elderly friend without expecting to be vaccinated herself, and when a doctor offered her a shot as a companion she initially refused.

“I said, ‘I would love it, but I’m not going to jump in front of anybody,’” she said. “Her quote was, ‘You’re just as important as anyone else, you took the time to bring this woman here without expecting the injection. We can take care of you.’ It was precious.”

Driving home, she said, she was flooded with gratitude and relief.

“I was blessed yesterday, totally blessed,” she said.

For Ms. Clark, it made perfect sense. Her friends in long-term care facilities have all been vaccinated, “but if you’re like me, and live in your own home, you’re stuck.”

At 72, she is healthy enough to drive some her neighbors to colonoscopies, and public-spirited enough to work the polls at special elections. “Someone’s out there who needs the help,” she said. “It’s just that they don’t know where to go.”

After long, gray months of waiting — “there’s only so much you can clean your house,” she remarked — the possibility of change had thrown her into high gear.

“I look wonderful, I actually put on clothes today,” she said. “I’m off to the Caribbean as soon as I get this done.”

Will Wright contributed reporting from New York.

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