Some people in the D.C. area have been able to make appointments for COVID-19 vaccines without much trouble. Others are spending hours refreshing websites only to get error messages, or calling a phone number over and over again only to have the calls drop.
Volunteers in Maryland are helping score vaccine appointments for people who live in the state or work there as teachers.
In Germantown, Stacy Derrick spends hours every day making appointments for anyone in Maryland who asks.
“It’s something that just makes sense to do. I can do it. It could be live-saving. How could I not?” she said.
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Derrick began setting up appointments for her job with an agency that helps adults with mental illness and their caregivers. Then she just kept helping others. So far, she has helped about 120 people, including many seniors and teachers.
Derrick said she has no real secret to getting an appointment.
“I wish I had secrets. But really it is that I keep a million tabs open. I keep refreshing all the time,” she said.
Also in Maryland, a group called Vax Pack is helping teachers get vaccine appointments. So far, they have 14 volunteers.
“We’re just a ragtag group of community members, parents and teachers helping to navigate a bewildering, inequitable vaccination system,” volunteer Alexandra Robbins said.
She said she spends the majority of her day finding doses. The group is focused on Montgomery County now and will turn to Anne Arundel County next.
If you’re having trouble setting up a vaccine appointment, know that you’re not alone, Derrick said.
“I think a lot of people feel like they’re in this on their own and there’s really no one helping them,” she said.