Volunteers ready to help general public book COVID vaccine appointments

BOSTON — Starting Monday, everyone over the age of 16 becomes eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. So when can you get an appointment for that shot?

Two local mothers created websites to help make that process easier if you don’t want to rely on the state’s preregistration website.

“We find you the appointments, so if you register with us on our website, macovidvaxhelp.com, we look for your appointment, so you then wouldn’t need to wait for alerts, etc.” said Diana Rastegayeva, who lives in Somerville. “We would book you an appointment within your requirements.”

Rastegayeva created macovidvaxhelp.com in February to help people get a COVID-19 vaccine.

She has about 600 volunteers who speak more than 15 languages to help people with the highest needs and in the hardest hit areas.

They have already helped 20,000 people book vaccine appointments over the last couple months.

“We do prioritize our requests, so it’s not first come first serve,” said Rastegayeva. “We prioritize populations that are disproportionately impacted by COVID or have inequitable access in the current rollout.”

If you’d like to book a vaccine appointment yourself but don’t know where to look, you could try Olivia Adams’ website: macovidvaccines.com.

“We’re plugged into almost every vaccine provider in the state,” said Adams, who created the site in February when people couldn’t easily find an appointment through the state.

Her site lists pharmacies and other locations that offer the vaccine aside from the mass vaccination sites run by the state.

Plus, Adams says now you can sign up for text alerts to notify you when there’s an available appointment in your area through her site.

“Somebody said they signed up for text messages, text message alerts yesterday and found an appointment for 2 hours later at a pharmacy down the road,” said Adams. “Which is just crazy, so things are looking good right now, I hope tomorrow has no speed bumps at all.”

Adams says the state’s website (mass.gov) is another good option, but she’s glad she could offer just another resource for people looking to get that shot ASAP.

“You just see this need and you wonder how can I help,” said Adams. “And I’m just glad I was able to use my skills to fill that gap and help people get vaccinated faster. We all want to get out of this as soon as possible.”

If you’re not tech savvy or don’t have access to the internet, Rastegayeva’s resource also includes a toll free phone number: 1-888-432-1VAX, where they have volunteers who speak three languages to help people book a vaccine.

Both Adams and Rastegayeva agree you should start by preregistering on the state’s website: https://vaccinesignup.mass.gov and if it takes awhile to get an appointment, you can try their resources next.

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