Tricky ways to get the COVID vaccine

I’m over here waiting my turn for this vaccine, which allegedly is only 5 days away, according to what my local government is telling me. I’m signed up for alerts on every site you can think of. But even though I qualify in 5 days, I can’t find an appointment anywhere.

I know about waiting for leftovers at places that are doing huge numbers of shots and I might do that if I can leave work on time. If you did that, tell me about how it went. And do you have any other good tips for how to get the COVID vaccine? I don’t want to bump anyone who’s entitled to it before me. I’m fine with waiting till it’s my turn. But once it is, how the heck do I get one even then?

Tell me how you did it, man! I just wanna go to a movie and buy some cosmetics at a real counter again! My dreams are lofty but they’re mine.

50 thoughts on “Tricky ways to get the COVID vaccine

  1. As of 12:01am today, Covid vaccine eligibility in California opened up to people in my group (under 65, severe asthma, and a “chunky” BMI ). So I used my cell phone to hunt down appointments, starting just after midnight… huddled in bed in the dark… Nothing was available for two months! But I repeated my searches until I found an appointment for today in the afternoon. It’s a 45 minute drive at the edge of my county, but that’s OK. The visual just gets to me… hundreds of women with “curvy” BMIs or serious health issues, waiting until the clock struck 12:01am, and we all pounced on the appointments. I assume that most men wouldn’t be as competitive to grab a Covid shot appointment but I may be wrong. I’m so excited that I can’t sleep yet. P.S. June, I’m enjoying your Michigan house hunt.

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  2. I just signed up for my first vaccine. I’m in Arizona so this might not be the same for your area but the AZ Dept of Health opens up new appointments every Saturday at 9am. So I went online at 9am and had lots of options. My husband is older but I also scheduled his next-day vaccine on a Saturday at 9am. He got his first dose last Sunday. Good luck!

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  3. I got my vaccine because a friend who works in the pharmacy said, hey we’ve got some vaccines left over, do you want one, while I was grocery shopping one evening. Apparently lots of people don’t show up for their appointments, so try calling the Publix and Kroger and CVS pharmacies around 6 or 7 and just asking if they have any left from that day. And if you get the first, you’re guaranteed the booster dose.

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  4. Check your local health dept and see if they have a mass vac site for your area – they should be by county. Then you can go register and wait for them to give you the info. If you have quick availability (like you can run out the door in a matter of minutes without having to arrange child care or your employer won’t be upset if you’re absent) they can also put you on their cancellation list. If someone doesn’t show for their appointment or can’t receive the shot for whatever reason, they just need an arm to jab so the vaccine doesn’t expire.

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  5. Gosh, I guess there are good things about living in Kentucky after all! I am 62, no health problems, and went to Walgreens website and got an appointment for the first shot in just a matter of days. Got it, and they made the second appointment that day. I only had to wait about 10 min for then to get things ready, got the shot and was on my way.

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  6. No advice on getting a vaccine, I’m in MA and it’s a free-for-all, although as of today they’ve made the process of just signing up easier, but enough about that, the house your mom went to today? In the words of Charlie Sheen, winner winner chicken dinner!

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  7. The federal government just opened a vaccine site in Greensboro at the Four Seasons mall. The only one in the state. Here is the contact information: Go to gsomassvax.org, Or call the COVID-19 Vaccine Help Center at 1-888-675-4567, Appointments may still be available over the phone, even if you can’t get one online. This center hopes to vaccinate 3000 people a day. It will be open for the next 8 weeks. It does not take from the state’s vaccine supply, it’s coming straight from the federal government’s supply.
    I live in Raleigh and am driving to Onslow County for a vaccine tomorrow morning. Onslow County has opened up their vaccines to all groups. That website is unityphr.com (click on the “starmed” icon). I checked online every day around 10:15 to see if there were available slots. Also, many of the more rural counties have trouble filling all their time slots. A friend in Dunn, NC, who is in group 4, went to the county walk-in clinic and got a shot, they didn’t have enough qualified people coming in and didn’t want the vaccines to go to waste.
    By the way, my first time leaving a comment, but I’ve been a reader of this blog since you were married to Marvin.

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  8. I’m pretty sure this link/site is valid for all zip codes: vaccinefinder.org
    Husband and I (and all our acquaintances) have been getting vaccine appointments at local pharmacies through here. It really was easy-peasy!

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  9. I am signed up for the email alerts from our county health department but my age group hasn’t opened yet unless you have a medical condition. My husband could sign up now but he’s got a mystery ailment that involves excessive bleeding so I’m thinking he’s going to wait until it’s figured out….I think he should be at the hospital or doctor’s office for monitoring. Our county is doing a lottery, you sign up and they send you a time. I’m not sure about the pharmacies though..

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    1. Oh I love the doors with the square windows. What a cute place, and it comes with your very own snake shed! I can’t believe the prices in that area……California is a ridiculous realty market, our 2 bedroom 1 bath 1000sq ft matchbook size house with a decent size back yard is just under $600K and it’s not half as nice as the one you’re looking at. Sigh.

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    2. This is a sweet house with tons of room. I forgot about basements! Wow and a garage. Nice nice nice. And those amazing trees!
      If you want to contact my daughter – your cousin – she did get the first shot last Saturday – I am not sure how but she was able to finally get an appointment – she lives in New Bern which is Craven County. We lived in Onslow for a while when I was there not that far.

      In AZ – I have friends that have been able to volunteer to work at the vaccination sites – not medical, just directing and stuff – for one day. That gave them the opportunity to get the shot! Worth checking.

      Mine – a website somehow popped up like magic. I know – but it is true and I had my first shot on 2-24 and the second will be 3-17 – Phizer.
      It seems dumb luck works!

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    3. OMG, Karen, get the inspection done and just say yes!!! Your style will look awesome.

      The kitchen is done, there’s the fireplace, hardwood floors even in the kitchen (which I have & love). All you need is to build a fence, and you’re good. And a good sized basement for storage & tornadoes. Gotta love someone who makes a bedroom into their ‘dressing room suite’ — that’s great.

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    4. ooo – darling! It’s already got a ssshed, a pink bedroom, a blue bedroom, a nice yard, and in the kitchen without upper cabinets, each cat has his/her own perch. (Appetizing!) They wouldn’t have to eat on the dryer anymore. It looks like the current owner uses a bedroom as a closet. That could be a cool adaptation. Looks very promising!
      I hope you get your vaccine soon. We got our first dose in early January on one of the first days of a large mass vaccine drive-thru site. It was a freaking nightmare – took 4 1/2 hours! They got it figured out in the meantime because at our second dose appt, there were only 3 cars in front of us. The nurse who gave our shots said it’s very common for people to cry because they are so overwhelmed with relief. Take your hanky!

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      1. That’s so interesting about the crying! I got my first one yesterday and was so overwhelmed with gratitude, thinking about all of the people who worked long and hard hours to quickly bring these vaccines to the market. When the nurse said, “Are you ready for this shot today?”, it was all I could do to say yes. Too many feelings to say anything more without bursting into tears (which is something I don’t typically do.) I’m glad to know I’m not alone!

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    5. It’s nicely laid out! I wonder if the pool table conveys? But is it common for the area to have the stove and refrigerator next to each other? I saw that in some of the other houses when I fell down the Zillow rabbit hole. I’m not being mean or judgemental, just curious if it’s a regional thing since I’ve never seen it before but also never lived in Michigan.

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  10. Sign up on any and all available waiting lists. When I knew our health department would be opening appointments late one afternoon, I went to their website and had to refresh the screen constantly for an hour when the heavens opened and the screen changed to the actual form to sign up. I felt like I won the lottery when I was able to quickly schedule both of us for the same day and time. Hint: Do NOT try to pick the first appointment available. I picked the afternoon of the 2nd day and it worked.

    Also, check the website for the hospital where you had your surgery as some of our hospitals have appointments for their prior patients. Another hint is to check for smaller towns near you or within driving distance. Check drugstores, Walmart and Sam’s to see if they are scheduling appointments in your area. You can also check with your doctor.

    Georgia is expanding the vaccines to many more people next week so it will be even harder to find appointments. And, yes, you can try to show up toward the end of the vaccine appointments daily to get available vaccines from the no-shows or cancellations.

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    1. Oh and another way – a lot of small medical clinics offer the shots – but it is best to walk in and make an appointment – they do not really advertise that they are doing this. It is usually Moderna.

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  11. I went on my county’s health department site, and yes, I HAVE looked there before. But today I looked again and when I clicked “Make appointment,” the first thing that popped up was “Select one: adopt dog.” YES, PLEASE!

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  12. Some of the book club gals shared last night that having a BMI above 30 put one in a higher group vs. strictly by age. I think the MN governor is making some other changes here soon. But, I turn 65 (aaaaack!) in two weeks, so I’ll be eligible then. Signed up at our state site last night for notifications. I also don’t want to bump the line, but will be very happy to get it shortly.

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      1. You can just google it, the formula or ratio, though you do need to know your current weight and height.

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  13. I signed up through Guilford County Health Deparment. I was not immediately get an appointment but each time they got vaccines, I got a message inviting me to set up an appointment. The first time all appointments were booked. The second time I was able to book an appointment. I have had my first shot and they booked my second shot appointment before I left that day. I went to Mount Zion Church in Greensboro and it was very efficient.

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  14. I received an eMail from Kaiser that my group was now able to get the vaccine with a link to sign myself up for an appointment. I had my final vaccine last week. The whole operation could not have run smoother. Bonus: I didn’t feel a thing with the first shot; just a quick pinch with the second.

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  15. It’s very chaotic in CA to get on lists, there are at least a dozen different channels of vaccine distribution and they all seem to be fighting against each other. Counties, hospitals, clinics and medical groups are all clamoring for vaccines from the state and whoever’s managing the logistics of that is completely drunk. Here, CVS (pharmacy/drug store, not sure if they are nationwide?) is getting their supply directly from the Federal government (bypassing the states mess) and have loads of appts open for the tiers that qualify, you just have to be persistent. I sat online and refreshed their appointment tracker for an entire afternoon and was successful in getting our appt for last Saturday and second shot on Easter Sunday. When we showed up, they said they had 80-100+ vaccines available PER day and only 20-25 sign ups on average – and there’s at least 2-3 CVS’s per town around here, I’m not great at the maths but that adds up to ALOT of shots sitting waiting for arms to go into. Yet people that really need the shots aren’t getting the appts because they just don’t know where to look. It’s a shit show circus.

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    1. See, this is helpful. I’m signed up for CVS alerts but every time I go on there, they got nothin’. Ima sit here and refresh.

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    2. It begs the question- if they have that many shots going unused, why is it so tough to make the appointment? Is it a lack of people to actually give the vaccines?

      I also think the idea of signing up online for something that is critical for the 70+ crowd is mindblowing. That’s not exactly the demographic that is used to using the internet for every aspect of their daily life. 100% badly executed on all levels.

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      1. Lisa I completely agree, the CVS option in CA just started getting traction in the last 2-3 weeks. I feel like the communications going out from our county and the state are conflicting and confusing for people. We have several groups here that are helping the older age groups to sign up. The CVS site was simple once it refreshed with appointment options. I think the tier system in CA is also limiting, we’ve been at +65, care homes & first responders since the start, then added “essential”, but clarified that essential were food workers, agriculture workers, educators and child care providers. Educators were left off the tier at first, then that was changed but still hard to get appts at the state vaccine sites. The County Office of Education promised all the teachers & school workers they would set up a vaccine site specifically for them, so they waited – then the state didn’t have enough vaccines and kept cancelling the site and pushing out further, so the teachers were losing out on other options waiting for their district, just ridiculous cluster F. It’s so confusing and frustrating. Good luck with CVS or your county health dept site!

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    3. Yeah, California’s vaccine distribution is a shit show. Way too many flaming hoops to jump through along with conflicting information.

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  16. It’s literally the Hunger Games of Health Care right now. We were included in a “pod” for essential frontline workers (which is absolutely embarrassing, considering we were WFH since day 1) so we had a special code and two locations to choose from. It should have been tranched by age, but it was not so my 26 year old co-worker got in on day one, while some 60+ co-workers are still waiting, as are many of the elderly in our state, including many in nursing homes and nursing home workers.

    Like everything bureacracies do, it’s a mess. Why they didn’t handle this through drs and pharmacies is beyond me. We had a “pop up” vaccine site randomly open up in an empty bank building this week – it created such a scrum that they had to lock the doors and call for police support.

    May the odds be ever in your favor, June.

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    1. Because independent pharmacies couldn’t handle the bureaucracy involved. You had to commit to giving 100 shots per day, which would mean hiring an additional nurse and an additional person just for the paperwork. He wanted to provide the much needed assistance to his patients, but logistically just couldn’t do it.

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  17. I live in Arkansas and 1c. Our governor opened 1b up to include church staff so I was like, yay! My parents had a hard time getting theirs scheduled, I expected the same. The baptist hospital network uses mychart and I had heard they had some appointments. I login Monday night and there are a ton of appointments at all of their hospitals. I made one for Tuesday and boom got my first vax and second one scheduled. You definitely have to think outside the box. I wasn’t wild about getting mine at the hospital but it worked.

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  18. I have to give a thumbs up to the owners of the house on Seminole Lane. They have Indian feathers as decor and Seminole pottery in their wallpaper borders. It’s a cute house and a good start to seeing what’s out there.

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  19. A friend found a Facebook group where you would write in the qualification and zipcode of the person wanting an appointment and others responded with where they knew appointments were available. I ended up getting the vaccine at a “healthcare concierge” on the 22nd floor of a building in downtown Bellevue. Strange but it worked out.

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  20. We still have to distance and wear masks, so it will not simply allow you to go back to normal. 😢

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      1. We were told it takes 2 weeks after your 2nd shot for it to be fully effective. We still wear masks when we are out.

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  21. I had signed up on Ingles’ website and a couple of days later I discovered you had to sign a consent form, so I completed then printed it and went to the pharmacy in the grocery store. They asked me if I had signed up online, and I had, they checked their list and asked if I wanted my shot now, so I ran to the car, got my consent form and my husband and we went in and got our shots then they gave us an appointment for 4 weeks later, we went back and was able to get the second dose. There were people at the pharmacy wanting to get shots but were unable to sign up online because they were no longer taking names because they had no vaccines available. My brother was able to sign up through his My Chart provided through the hospital that all of his doctors use.
    Tee

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  22. This is me, too: “I don’t want to bump anyone who’s entitled to it before me. I’m fine with waiting till it’s my turn. But once it is, how the heck do I get one even then?”

    It shouldn’t be the Hunger Games to get a damned vaccine.

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