COLORADO, USA — While thousands of Coloradans are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, many struggle to figure out how they can get it. For the clinics, hospitals and now pharmacies that offer the vaccination, the appointments fill up fast.
"I was just searching, and I was like, 'What? There’s no appointments,'" Doug Ward, Colorado Springs resident, said. "I stumbled upon a New Orleans Facebook group called NOLA Vaccine Hunters, and I was like, wow, this is an interesting idea."
Ward searched to see if Colorado had its own version of the group, but it didn't.
So, he changed that.
"I decided to make a Colorado Facebook group, and I was like, why stop there? I should also try to see if I can help as many people as possible," he said. "Now I think we have 32 groups across the U.S, and as of yesterday, I think I counted there was over 33,000 group members across those."
The Facebook groups crowdsource vaccine availability information and post it on the page. It helps people like Coloradan Joseph Rios find appointments for their loved ones. He joined the Colorado Vaccine Hunter Facebook group a few days ago.
Rios spent the better part of the week searching for an appointment for his 66-year-old father when another person in the Facebook group posted about a few openings with National Jewish Health.
"I logged into my computer really quick, got my Dad signed up, and was pretty happy that that ended up happening," he said. "It’s a pretty good resource, I would say, for people to try and find different places that are offering vaccines right now. I feel like it’s been a little bit difficult for some people to find it."
A difficulty Ward hopes his Facebook groups are helping with. While he knows this is not the permanent solution, it certainly shows the power of a community.
"When [people] work together and have a mission, it really can make all the difference in the world," Ward said.
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