BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — When Heidi Cancio's friends and family were having a hard time booking vaccine appointments, the Buffalo native who now lives in California offered to help.
Heidi is a teacher, but she wasn't working during the pandemic, so she had extra time to dedicate to helping others. She was so successful booking for them that they began passing her contact information to other people - and before she knew it she had booked more than 100 appointments for people who needed vaccines.
Because she's booked so many appointments, she's learned some tips and tricks along the way - and she offered to share them.
Q: If people are still trying to get a vaccine appointment, what are tips you would give them as they search for one?
A: The most important thing I think is to find support. You can find support by reaching out to friends and family who might have more time on their hands, or more patience. Or you can reach out to Facebook groups.
The next best thing to do is find out when the appointments drop for the platforms that work best for you. CVS and Walgreens for example will drop in the morning around 6:00 a.m. - 7:00 a.m.
The "Am I Eligible" website drops appointments about every half hour at least. So if you sit down and click constantly, you're bound to get an appointment.
Q: What about when you get the message "No Appointments Available?"
A: Don't listen to it! There are appointments available, but it kind of does a reserve, then releases them all together. So when it says no appointments available, it's like - hold on a second. I'm pulling things up for you. They're adding new appointments all the time.
Q: So should I keep refreshing the webpage to try and see if something pops up?
A: Yep. And I promise you if you sit there for an hour - even half an hour - something would open up for sure. And my recommendation is not to take that first appointment that pops up. Because everyone is going to click on it. If you're really ok with any time of day, don't look, just scroll down and click. Because you want to get it before someone else does.
Other tips from Heidi:
- Write out the information you know you will need, including your health insurance information, in a Word Doc. That way you can easily copy and paste it when an available appointment pops up.
- NEVER give out your Social Security Number to someone who offers to help you. People booking appointments for others WILL NOT NEED YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER.
- Have some patience, and try to remain positive. Heidi says booking an appointment is "99% perseverance and persistence - and 1% luck!"
If you'd like to contact Heidi:
She and another woman are working together to field calls, and help people book vaccine appointments. You can reach them at (716) 235-1601 - and you can CALL OR TEXT.
You can also contact Heidi and Andrea (another woman who has offered to help) by filling out this Google Doc.
They will be keeping track of everyone who sends them information, and will work to make appointments for people as they can.