Posted by Solv, April 02, 2021 (last updated on April 17, 2021)
Vaccination eligibility is opening up throughout the country! In fact, 90% of Americans over the age of 16 will be eligible for a vaccine by the middle of April. However, there are more people eligible for a vaccine right now than there are doses. Securing an appointment continues to be a long, difficult process for many. Read on to learn some community-generated tips to score a vaccine appointment.
10 Tips to Find and Book an Appointment
1. Track the refresh times
The biggest source of appointments by far is pharmacies. Find out the optimal time to search for appointments on the pharmacy websites from your local Facebook group. This can change week-to-week. Start your search 10-15 minutes before that ideal window and constantly refresh your browser. These appointments typically disappear within minutes, so really try to be fast.
New appointment openings
Midnight and then every 30 minutes until 2 AM, then between 6-7 AM
Between 7-8 AM
* This information is crowd-sourced from active vaccination Facebook groups and reflects common themes noted by members booking appointments for other people. This information was not published by the above pharmacies.
2. Don't shoot for first
Try not to pick the first available appointment – most people will pick from the first few appointments on the list. Try to go for something in the middle where demand is not as intense. This will increase the chance that your appointment slot does not clock out while you’re entering in your information.
3. Leverage Facebook
Join your local volunteer-run Facebook group that is helping coordinate the vaccination effort. Volunteers spend all their free time finding and booking people appointments, answering questions, and sending notifications as new appointment slots open up. These groups are filled with the most up-to-date information in your area, at times including the type of vaccine offered at specific sites. Consider turning on your push notifications for these groups so that you’re in the loop when new appointment slots are released.
4. Shop around
Shop around different websites – city & state Department of Health vaccination sites, local hospitals, pharmacies, retail stores and supermarkets (Albertsons, Costco, Publix, Target, Safeway, Walmart, Kroger). You can also visit Solv's COVID vaccine resource center to find a COVID vaccine near you.
5. Take your time
Set aside time to book the appointment and be patient. Block off thirty minutes and refresh the browser constantly until something appears. If you’re not lucky, try again later that day.
6. Be efficient
To ⚡️speed up⚡️ the booking process, try out the following:
- Make profiles ahead of time for websites that need your personal information for booking – for example, Walgreens requires an account to book, but CVS and Riteaid do not.
- Turn on the autofill settings in your browser. Basic information like your name and address will be pulled into the booking form and will save you time.
- Some booking sites ask you to enter your insurance information to proceed with the booking. To make this faster, have this information typed out so you can quickly copy and paste during the booking process.
7. Be thorough
When searching for an appointment, type in all possible combinations of your location to widen up the search. For example, if you live in Brooklyn NYC, try all of the following searches: Brooklyn NY, Brooklyn NYC, Kings County, 11211, Williamsburg, Williamsburg NYC. You can also try searching for only the first three digits of your zip code, which may open up the search. Then, move onto other neighborhoods in your area that you’d be willing to travel to for an appointment.
8. Protect your identity
Never enter your social security number. Legitimate sites will not ask for this information for an appointment, so if you’re ever required to provide it, see that as a major red flag and immediately get off that website. Websites also should not require you to enter payment information.
9. Stalk cancellations
Cancellations are posted frequently throughout the day, so continue to check in! For example, cancellations are posted every six minutes on some NYC-run vaccination websites.
10. Book both appointments
If you’ll receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, make sure to schedule the appointment for your second dose during your initial booking or at your first appointment. Do not leave your appointment without knowing when your next vaccine will happen.
Finding a COVID vaccine appointment can be a stressful and time-consuming process. As more people become eligible for the vaccine, appointments may become harder to come by. We’re hoping the above tips can help make the whole process just a bit easier.
- Facebook groups: (a) https://www.facebook.com/groups/204675344701435, (b) https://www.facebook.com/groups/newjerseycovidvaccinesites, (c) https://www.facebook.com/groups/1096372554182771, (d) https://www.facebook.com/groups/989925228080446