Capital Region

Local residents book COVID-19 vaccine appointments for others

Anne Berger, who helps schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for other people, sits in front of her computer in her Niskayuna home on Saturday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Anne Berger, who helps schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for other people, sits in front of her computer in her Niskayuna home on Saturday.

Anne Burger of Niskayuna had begun watching the state’s eligibility requirements for the COVID vaccine when it opened up to those 50 and older and her brother-in-law struggled to make an appointment.

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So, Burger booked one for her brother-and-sister-in-law. She had mentioned the experience on social media as well.

“I was hearing from people about how hard it was to schedule an appointment,” she said.

That’s when she began helping friends and others make an appointment. She would also let people know when clinics were happening locally.

On Friday, she helped 20 people, she said.

Burger is part of a larger group of 14 volunteers spread throughout various counties in the Capital Region.

“She was one of the first to come to me and volunteer,” said Sherri Manss who operates the Upstate NY & Capital District COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Requests group.

Berger said since she joined the group about a month ago she’s probably helped a total of 50 people.

“It feels good to be able to help them,” she said.

Other members of the group include Pamela Pociluk, Shellie Asher Ware, Kalyan Ghule, Tamara Coons, Nicole Nero and Manss’ 17-year-old son Tyler Dorn.

“I’ve always done volunteer work, it’s part of who I am,” Manss said.

Now, the group has 14 volunteers who have set appointments for over 700 people.

More than 8.5 million people have been vaccinated in the state, according to a press release issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Saturday. More than 200,000 people received vaccines within a 24 hour period between Friday and Saturday with over 1 million doses administered in the last week. One person died in both Albany and Montgomery counties.

Manss said she created the group after experiencing what it was like to book an appointment for her in-laws.

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Ways to reach out to the Upstate NY & Capital District COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Requests group

“They had no instructions,” she said, noting many senior citizens don’t have computers or understand how the process works. “It’s discouraging for them.”

She also said some people don’t have the time or patience to book appointments either.

So she decided to take up booking appointments for people instead.

“I started from my home with a notebook,” she said. “In three days I had about 80 people.”

Manss said she then began searching social media to see if there were any groups helping people, but couldn’t find any locally. She was able to find Shana Feibus in Long Island who was aiding people with appointments and they created the upstate group.

She said she has about 30 people on a waiting list to be a volunteer.

“We have a well-rounded group of individuals,” Manss said.

However, Manss said people don’t need to be part of the group to help others make appointments. She said if someone is part of an organization like a church and there is a need to assist people with making appointments, then someone should lend them a hand.

She also said the group is connecting with other organizations like doctor’s offices, who provide patients that want assistance booking an appointment, but the doctor’s office doesn’t have the staff to help them.

Ways to reach out to the Upstate NY & Capital District COVID-19 Vaccination Appointment Requests group

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Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

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