Woman, 90, Walked Six Miles in the Snow for a Vaccine

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To get her coronavirus vaccination last weekend, Frances H. Goldman, 90, went to an extraordinary length: six miles. On foot.

It was too snowy to drive at 8 a.m. on Sunday when Ms. Goldman took out her hiking poles, dusted off her snow boots and started out from her home in the Seattle neighborhood of View Ridge. She made her way to the Burke-Gilman Trail on the edge of the city, where she wended her way alongside a set of old railroad tracks, heading south. Then she traversed the residential streets of Laurelhurst to reach the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

It was a quiet walk, Ms. Goldman said. People were scarce. She caught glimpses of Lake Washington through falling snow. It would have been more difficult, she said, had she not gotten a bad hip replaced last year.

At the hospital, about three miles and an hour from home, she got the jab. Then she bundled up again and walked back the way she had come.

It was an extraordinary effort — but that was not the extent of it. Ms. Goldman, who became eligible for a vaccine last month, had already tried everything she could think of to secure an appointment. She had made repeated phone calls and fruitless visits to the websites of local pharmacies, hospitals and government health departments. She enlisted a daughter in New York and a friend in Arizona to help her find an appointment.

Finally, on Friday, a visit to the Seattle Children’s Hospital website yielded results.

“Lo and behold, a whole list of times popped up,” she said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “I couldn’t believe my eyes. I went and got my glasses to make sure I was seeing it right.”

Then came the snow, which would ultimately drop more than 10 inches in one of Seattle’s snowiest weekends on record. Wary of driving on hilly, unplowed roads, Ms. Goldman decided to go to the hospital on foot. She took a test walk part of the way on Saturday to get a sense of how long the trip might take.

And on Sunday, she trekked all the way to the hospital to get her vaccine. The Seattle Times reported on her walk on Monday.

The appointment went smoothly, she said. And it carried a special significance for Ms. Goldman because she could recall the joy of national celebrations in 1955, when another important vaccine was developed.

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