From Malcontentment Happy Hour, February 8, 2021
FindACOVIDShot.org helps vulnerable populations navigate the maze to get a COVID vaccination appointment
Sharla (she asked for her last name to be withheld) is in a vulnerable group for contracting COVID and suffering serious symptoms, and she was excited to learn vaccinations would be available. She quickly learned that the path to finding an appointment was full of challenges and barriers. Instead of getting frustrated, Sharla and her brother Steve got motivated. They created a Facebook Group, Find a COVID Shot WA, and assembled a group of volunteers to help others find appointments
A week later, the group had over 10,000 members and is serving the people of Washington state in 10 different languages. The group doesn’t exist to provide insider information or help those not eligible for a shot to find one, but to help those who can’t navigate the system, find an appointment.
The effort to vaccinate Washington state residents is very complicated. There is no central website or location to make an appointment. Each hospital system, pharmacy chain, and medical clinics have their own appointment systems that use different software. Available slots aren’t posted at a set time and can be filled faster than a person can input all the required information. For people who don’t speak English, lack technology, or don’t understand technology like the elderly, the barriers make finding a shot impossible.
Steve and Sharla now have over 15,000 members and have been featured on NPR and local news affiliates. Their success is getting noticed, and they are considering expanding their efforts to other states.
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