Secure a Covid vaccination appointment with this tactic

For the last few months I’ve watched the painstaking progress of the Covid-19 vaccination campaign inch toward me. At 67 years old with two serious health conditions, I told myself that I would not have to wait too long to receive the shot.

I learned, however, that my state placed some other groups ahead of seniors and that delayed things. Then when seniors were placed in the active queue, they stratified the priority and bestowed eligibility on the oldest first. It was strictly age-based with no weight given to health status. This bugged me until I realized that most people over the age of 65 have some significant comorbidities.

I was due to finally become eligible on March 1st but the eligible pool would swell to 500,000 and the weekly doses available at my mass vaccination center only numbered in the 10-20,000 range.

Yesterday, I received a text from my daughter saying she heard that appointments were available right now at a pharmacy website. I logged on, entered my zip code and was presented with available appointments. The only problem was that eligibility currently rested at age 70+. I would not jump the queue.

Since the vaccine delivery site was my local Safeway pharmacy, I thought I might try something. I had heard from relatives and from reading some news stories that people could receive vaccination offers due to the threat of doses expiring and going to waste. These people opportunistically disclosed their availability in such a case and often met with success.

Social engineering is not my strength, but my interest in getting vaccinated was keen and I didn’t want to wait any longer than necessary for my turn. So, I wrote up a 3" x 5" index card with my name and phone number at the top. Then I wrote that I live very close to the store and could show up quickly and on short notice if any dose threatened expiring and going to waste.

I showed up at the pharmacy counter and quickly made my case and offered my index card. She didn’t think my chances were very good but kindly took my card.

About an hour later, this pharmacist called and offered me an appointment! I showed up an hour later and after a 30-minute wait and filling out some paperwork, I had the first dose of the Moderna vaccine in my arm.

I think this tactic could work with similarly situated people across the country. It doesn’t matter if your state has deemed you eligible or not. You present yourself as a way to make good their commitment to not waste any of this precious vaccine. You’re doing your community and yourself a service.

I have spent a lot time and attention following the news of the vaccination rollout. At times I was unhappy with the seeming inequity of the public policy of placing some groups ahead of others.

In the end, the thing that solved my problem was simply narrowing my focus to the pragmatic. I hope a few others reading this can enhance their prospects of getting vaccinated sooner rather than later.


I have paperwork that allows me to get a vaccine now as a frontline medical professional because my workplace deals with covid samples.
However I can’t find a single place to get an appointment because there is no vaccine or all the appointments are full.

As soon as it lightens up, they open it up to more and I can never catch a break.

However I already had covid a year ago so. I’m not so worried about it however I know there are variants and I do want it eventually.

My employer is going to require it in April so I need to get in

MY state made diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) eligible on February 16th. I immediately went to every site I could think of. State, city, pharmacies etc. None had appointments. One hospital site I checked had a whole form to fill out and I was getting hopeful. After submitting it I got a “Sorry, no appointments available” message but it did ask if I wanted them to save my info. I said yes and on Tuesday 2/23 I got a phone call asking if I was available on Thursday 2/25 because they had some openings. She asked me several times if I was certain I could make it. I had my first shot of Pfizer yesterday and go back March 18th for the second. It was very well run. I was only there for maybe 5 minutes filling out some forms and getting set up for the second shot. Then I was ushered in to a different room, given the shot and told to sit outside the room for 5 minutes.

Hopefully with the J&J vaccine added to the others more people will be able to be vaccinated sooner.


@Liz – Persistence matters. You made a good decision to request that they save your info. Adding the J&J vaccine will help but I wish there were enough vaccinations for everyone at this point.

@Timothy - With the immunity given you by living through an infection, at least you enjoy some protection. Getting the vaccination on top of that will only improve your immunity. I think that’s a good idea.

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My state (Colorado) has placed all food workers and ‘faith leaders’ as essential ahead of people with pre-existing conditions. So even though I’m in my mid 50’s, had cancer last year and am diabetic the 20 year old pizza guy comes before me.

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Don’t let that thought settle; it will erode you. Some practical solution would feel better.


The teachers here made a big push to get vaccinations, so the 25 year old teacher who isn’t even going into a classroom right now got a vaccination and only 59% of over 75 year olds have gotten it. They interviewed her and asked if she felt guilty and she said a little but she had anxiety over getting covid so she went ahead and got the vaccination.

Childcare workers got it, but they cut off caregivers to the elderly because they were running out of vaccine doses. I already know of one case where the caregiver got it and infected an 85 year old. Luckily he seems to have recovered okay.

I believe I am way down on the list lol, as they keep adding priorities to it.

I am 63 and Indiana has not prioritized anyone beyond first responders and health care workers. I signed up on a list for the vaccine at a grocery store chain 4 weeks ago. The understanding was that they would contact me when for an appointment when I was eligible.

On Monday evening I received a text that said tomorrow I was eligible to get the vaccine. I quick called my rheumatologist, and we worked out a plan if i went ahead and Tuesday morning I was vaccinated.

I now have to wait 2 months for my infusion that was supposed to occur next week but at this point I have the vaccine.

I know crazy right.


Amazing!!! Well done, Terry!!! Excellent ingenuity. I’m soooo happy.

We haven’t done all the 65+ ers yet, but more than 1/2 of them that I know have been done. My Dad is 69 and goes in this weekend, but that’s because I registered him through an alternative State popup clinic that distributes excess, unused vaccine. Get this! They accidentally scheduled him for 2 initial vacc appointments. So, he needs to call them and tell them that he already has an appointment.

Well done, Terry!!!

According to this, 60+ are eligible.

Good job, @Rphil2. Way to move fast. When they say jump, we gotta jump!!! Your a rockstar!!!

Yes, Tuesday morning this past week 02/23 was the first day people 60 - 65 could get vaccinated in Indiana. The Governor announced it at the Wednesday afternoon press conference. That fact i was in line when the pol was expanded got me in the day before the announcement. We went to Meijer (a retailer) at 11:30 AM to get the vaccine. There were about 15 booked on that time slot. When we left there were about 40 in line for the 12:30 time slot.

My only special treatment came about because I had signed up weeks before and that got me called on the first day.


I simply played by our rules but with some help from local ingenuity. In NYC, there are so many different suppliers, each with their own website and processes, but someone had put together a site that aggregated availability from them into a single page. For a week or more there were few appointments available, with vaccines delayed by a recent snow storm, but I setup the page for my zip code, then used a Chrome/Edge extension to refresh the page every minute. I had that running for a few days, but the only available appointments were for residents of the outer boroughs in Queens, Brooklyn, or the Bronx, then one evening it just filled up, and with some frantic clicking, I grabbed the nearest, for me a trek out to Harlem, the upper corner of Manhattan. They went fast, but now my nearest hospital, as well as my employer, are writing that they can vaccinate me.

I have my second dose of Moderna scheduled for March 26th, and a bit closer, on the Lower East Side.


It warms my heart to see children and grand-children step up with their more current tech and social abilities to help their parents and grandparents with this vital task. Good job, @mohe0001!

Well, America certainly mismanaged many aspects of Covid-19 but it’s nice to see some grassroots altruistic technical know-how be put in play to help people. I hope this idea spreads far and wide. Can you share a link? Congrats of getting your dose!

By the way, I’m on the same second dose schedule as you.


Even more than family, I really admire young people, or anyone really, that stepped up to deliver food, setup computers, and provide companionship or medical care to all the people stuck in apartments. This is just one example:

My spouse and I are now the ‘support staff’ for my 85-year old mother in law. She’s very healthy and relatively tech savvy, but my spouse has become the de facto ordering service. When everyone fist started isolating, my spouse arranged food deliveries from Fresh Direct, something we have used for over 10 years to to have our groceries delivered. Plus, there are other delivery services we needed to use for her, as well as us, to get everything. Then there is Amazon.

Both us worked like animals to get her appointments for the vaccine.

For me, it is being tech support, remotely taking care of computers for family, even recently purchasing a laptop for my spouse’s aunt, who is 75 and never used a PC. The most complicated device she had was her clamshell phone, although she does seem to pick up tech very quickly. I’ve been setting it up, installing software, and creating accounts on FB, Gmail, Outlook, etc. Over Chrome Remote Desktop - she is over 50 miles away - we are now in the training phase, but we are hoping the she will learn enough to Zoom on her own, as well as have the ability keep in touch with friends and family on FB.

I have wanted to help elders in our condo, what is technically a NORC, naturally occurring retirement community, since the building has been here for 60 years, initially as middle income housing that went condo in the 80s, and many residents either bought in or stayed renters. As with family, I could have taken care of technical tasks for others, but my spouse is too worried to let me do that, so much so that I never raised the question, knowing how she’d respond.

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Here are the sites I used:

These are the page refreshing tools for Chrome and Edge:


I’m in NYC and trying to find any place to get the vaccine once I became eligible was not easy. I started at the “Am I eligible” state page and from there it had a rather short list of sites all over the state, very few in NYC, but none of them had appointments. I found another city page but none had appointments except the new Queens/Brooklyn sites but you had to live in certain zip codes in those boroughs (I’m in the Bronx). I think I ended up Googling something and a list came up and I was going down one by one, “No appointments”. Got to a page for Montefiore hospital and left my info. 10 days later I got a call for an appointment.

I read about people starting pages looking to help others find an appointment but by then I had already received the call. I am glad I got my first dose but I’ll feel even better knowing many more people around me have gotten it as well.

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This is off topic, @Terry4, but did you see this Loop discussion at their conference today? Are You in the LOOP? - YouTube

I believe I’ve seen this video before; it’s now almost three years old, published in June 2018.

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I have completed two Moderna vaccine shots. No side effects other than mild soreness and some short lived problem with my bowels.
My wife is 76 and she has no health condition that might cause her to be high risk. She was told in our NY county that she is not eligible until July 1.
I am having to avoid being with people and I am taking appropriate precautions for 5 months to avoid having Covid and taking it home to her.