Needham mom connecting eligible residents with available vaccine appointments

NEEDHAM, Mass. — A Needham mother is determined to make booking a vaccine appointment less intimidating for those who want her help. Dale McCarthy started a community Facebook page 10 days ago called ‘Massachusetts COVID Vaccine Info and Support’.

The former Middlesex prosecutor has been keeping people informed with the latest information and tips to help find available appointment slots. In some cases, she’s been securing appointments for complete strangers, mostly senior citizens.

She said it’s the least she can do to pitch in during what’s been a difficult time for so many.

“It gives them hope that a complete stranger would take time out of their life to help them,” McCarthy said. “It just makes the world feel a lot nicer.”

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McCarthy told Boston 25 News that finding available slots for people who are eligible has a lot to do with timing and persistence. She’s booked about 100 appointments for others so far. Those folks have trusted her to pass along their personal information, which she then deletes or shreds.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there. I really wanted to start something that had good verified information that was direct and easy to follow,” McCarthy explained.

McCarthy’s patience and willingness to lend a helping hand have been inspiring others. She’s been joined by about 15 volunteers, who spend their time and energy devoted to assisting anyone in need.

“She was like an angel. I feel pretty blessed that we got to know each other,” said Beverly Leader, who credits McCarthy with securing her vaccine appointment.

Leader, a 71-year-old, said the online appointment system can be intimidating for people in her age group.

“She called me back right away and said, ‘we’ve got you an appointment,’” Leader recalled. “Her first words after that were, ‘is there anybody else I can help?’”

The Facebook group also offers tips for school personnel who are seeking appointments. McCarthy has reached out to 13 out of the 20 school districts categorized as ‘high-risk’ areas to bring this resource to their attention.

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“I’m very concerned about the high-risk communities and what going back to in-person teaching will look like for them,” she said. “I think everyone wants their kids back to school. In order to do that, you want to help your school personnel get vaccinated.”

McCarthy said she only books appointments in communities considered high-risk for people who reside there.

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