Resources for Finding a COVID-19 Vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been troubled to say the least.
People have had to navigate confusing and poorly designed websites, smashing the refresh button over and over again to try and find appointments. White people are getting vaccinated at higher rates than other groups, despite the fact that Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people have borne the brunt of COVID fatalities.
As vaccine eligibility expands in this country, more and more people are able to schedule appointments to get vaccines, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to do so. To support our community of artists and the people in your networks, we’re sharing some resources to help you find appointments.
News sources like the Wall Street Journal and NPR, plus volunteer groups, have compiled resources to help you find out which website to go to or what phone number to call to make a vaccine appointment in your city or state.
How to Get a Covid-19 Vaccine: a State-by-State Guide: This resource from the Wall Street Journal provides hotline phone numbers and websites for each state to find vaccine appointments. It is frequently updated, but not automatically so be sure to check your state’s most recent eligibility requirements against what this site suggests. At the time of this blog post’s publication, it was last updated on March 18, 2021.
How Do I Get A COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment?: NPR created this 4-part tool to walk you through the first steps of getting your vaccine appointment. First, you plug in your location, then it directs you to where you can see if you are eligible. Next, it points you to whether you can register with your city or state for an appointment or if you can do it through a private company like a pharmacy. Finally, it points you to state-specific phone numbers and websites for further assistance.
VacFind: VacFind is a group of student volunteers who have put together a list of resources both national and state-by-state to help people find out where to go to get vaccines. They combine government websites, aggregator websites, and links to volunteer-run efforts like state-specific vaccine hunting Facebook groups.
Vaccine Appointment Aggregators
Because of the confusing nature of government websites, people have created aggregators to help people find available vaccines. They tend to be volunteer-run and focused on access at pharmacies instead of the larger distribution sites. These aggregators aren’t able to let you schedule directly within the website. You’d still have to make the appointment with the provider directly. But they can certainly give you a place to start. Here are a few to check out:
VaccineFinder: Operated by epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children’s Hospital, VaccineFinder works with pharmacies, health departments, and clinics to share information about vaccines. You can search for vaccines near your zip code and even select which vaccines you want to search for if you have a strong preference for or against Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson.
Get My Vaccine: GetMyVaccine is a volunteer project pulling together national data from CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, and other pharmacies.
COVID-19 Vaccine Spotter: Vaccine Spotter is an open-source project that scans available appointments at pharmacies. It updates every minute. As of March 25, they created functionality to help you filter by vaccine type (Pfizer, Moderna, J & J, first dose or second dose) and pharmacy.
TurboVax: The clear winner for most delightful name, TurboVax finds appointments at government-run sites in New York City. You can receive Twitter alerts when they post newly available appointments.
Help From Mutual Aid Groups
In the same way that we saw hyper-local community groups come together to provide food and resources using solidarity and mutual aid models, we’ve seen those same grassroots groups work to help people find vaccine appointments.
Getting plugged in with these groups can give you more specific local information about appointments. For example, a nurse might text a friend to let them know that their hospital will be accepting walk-ins to put extra doses to use one night only. Even if your local food pantry or mutual aid group doesn’t directly help with vaccination appointments, they can probably point you in the direction of someone who can.
If You Found an Appointment
If you’ve managed to find your way through this confusing, chaotic system, congratulations! The more people who are vaccinated, the better.
Now, we hope that you’ll pay it forward. Tell people in your life who are having a hard time getting an appointment what worked for you. Offer to help them schedule the appointment if you’ve spent a long enough time navigating these websites to feel like a pro. Check in on your neighbors who might have a hard time getting access to a computer or navigating digital bureaucracy. Check in on your elders, your deli guy, people whose jobs preclude them from hitting refresh on their computer all day.
If you’re skilled with a computer, speak multiple languages, or just know a lot of your neighbors,, put your shoulder to the wheel and use what you can to help support your community.
About Nina Berman
Nina Berman is an arts industry worker and ceramicist based in New York City, currently working as Associate Director, Communications and Content at Fractured Atlas. She holds an MA in English from Loyola University Chicago. At Fractured Atlas, she shares tips and strategies for navigating the art world, interviews artists, and writes about creating a more equitable arts ecosystem. Before joining Fractured Atlas, she covered the book publishing industry for an audience of publishers at NetGalley. When she's not writing, she's making ceramics at Centerpoint Ceramics in Brooklyn.