Volunteers are helping people book COVID-19 vaccine appointments as state expands eligibility
With more New Jerseyans eligible for the vaccine - and everyone over 16 on deck later this month - getting an appointment could become more difficult.
But there are some New Jersey residents who are helping others to get appointments, many for people who they don’t even know.
“I couldn’t get it. I tried, I really tried – at all hours. That’s the way it was,” says Linda Glassmith, of West Orange.
Independent as she is, the 95-year-old says she was determined to book her own vaccination appointment by phone. But it was her daughter in Pennsylvania who eventually stayed up all night and got her one online at the Essex County vaccination site in West Orange.
“The person holding the phone took me there. We were in and out. Home in an hour,” Glassmith says.
VACCINE INFORMATION: Check to see if you are eligible
APPOINTMENT INFORMATION: Where and how to get vaccinated
SEARCH FOR A CURE: Statistics and State Resources
The person holding the phone during News 12’s Zoom interview with Glassmith was Casey Holstein, owner of Synergy Homecare of Metro New Jersey.
“It’s been tremendously frustrating for people in my office – caregivers, clients, my friends, a lot of people who have gotten it lately. So, the rollout has been accelerating, but it’s still frustrating,” Holstein says.
It’s a struggle social media is helping to solve. News 12 has previously reported about websites and Facebook groups where volunteers assist strangers across the state to get appointments. Holstein and his staff are also doing their part in person, helping their clients and others find and book appointments. Now they’re working to bring the vaccine to the elderly homebound.
“I think that humans are connecting more because of this pandemic. Because we are all in this together. Goes across all of society,” says Glassmith.
Many clinics and municipalities are reporting they're getting more doses and expanding hours. But according to some of those Facebook information groups, many are still struggling to book appointments.