It’s no secret that it’s difficult for many people to book Covid vaccine appointments right now. The fact that every city and state seems to be doing some different with their vaccine rollout also makes it hard to get the right information and figure out what you need to do to nab an appointment. There are, however, a few things that can make the process easier.
While governments and businesses continue to get their processes underway, the best you can do is remain diligent about following COVID vaccine news and understanding how the system in your particular area works. Here are eight ways to hopefully improve your chances of getting one of those appointments.
Check health department websites and sign up for alerts.
Many state and local health department-related websites are providing basic information about appointment availability, so these should be your first stop in terms of doing your research. Some of those sites may allow you to sign up for alerts when there’s new information on appointments, while others give more details about vaccination locations and links to booking platforms. Try typing in “[YOUR STATE OR CITY] Covid vaccine appointment” as a start to see what comes up.
Additionally, certain cities and states already have volunteer-run websites that allow people to see where vaccines are available and how to book appointments. California, Texas, New Jersey, and New York City already have sites, and others will surely pop up in the coming weeks and months. Searching “[YOUR STATE OR CITY] Covid vaccine list” may help.
Register in government health databases.
Once you’ve taken a look at these government-run websites, see if you need to set up an account for future booking. Often they require people to fill out basic personal and medical information before they’re able to schedule an appointment. It’s better to get those accounts squared away so that you’re not trying to enter information later when you’re in a booking frenzy.
Find out if any local pharmacies are offering vaccines.
Depending on the city and state, certain pharmacies and drugstores like Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart are also providing vaccines. So, it’s worth checking local government sites for more information and calling around to the pharmacies and drugstores in your area to see who might have appointments available and what their scheduling systems are like.
You may also need to sign up for an account with those various pharmacies or drugstores to be eligible for an appointment, so create those accounts and if possible enter any personal or medical information in advance so that you’re not slowed down when appointments pop up.
Create a document with all of your personal and account information.
New appointment times can go within seconds in many cases, so you don’t want to waste valuable time because you forgot to write down your username or password or because you don’t have a document with your information ready to be copied and pasted. Make it easier for yourself!
Call hotline numbers to find out when appointment booking is refreshed.
Does your area’s vaccine scheduling system refresh at six in the morning on the dot or at midnight every night? It’s helpful to have that information in advance so that you’re ready to try and book an appointment as soon as the system is live rather than waiting to do it when appointments will already be booked.
Ask loved ones to help you out.
Because appointment booking is a game of chance in many cases right now, the more people who are online trying to book your appointment, the better. If you can enlist a family member or two to also be on the lookout at times when new appointments open, it might be what tips the scales.
See if appointments are available a few weeks out.
Some areas only show appointment times for the next few days, but others allow you to book weeks in advance. If you can do so, check out the dates and times available in the future since there’ll be fewer people fighting over those appointments compared to the ones available sooner.
Only fill out required information.
Some booking forms may ask for optional information like your primary care physician or pre-existing conditions. While you may need to fill all of that out in its entirety ahead of your actual appointment, skip it if it’s not required for submitting a scheduling request and confirming a booking. Just fill out what you absolutely need to; those few precious seconds may matter.
Hopefully getting a Covid vaccine will get easier in the coming months as cities and states alike put systems in place for distributing them, but for the time being, these little hacks might make all the difference. Good luck!