race for a vaccine

Tips and Tricks: How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

Booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment can be slow and difficult. Here are some tips that could help you land one faster

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Eligibility to get a COVID-19 vaccine in California is about to expand, but the ability to get a shot is still painfully slow and difficult.

Here are some specific tips that could help you land an appointment faster.

First, go online, but not just to the county websites. Visit websites like vaccinehunter.org and Dr. B. Think of both as modern matchmakers.

Janet Pitcher, known as a "vaccine whisperer," has already helped 30 people find appointments.

What's her secret? Pharmacies like Rite Aid and CVS open new appointments at 12:01 a.m. each day on their websites.

"Honestly, my biggest source of appointments is through the actual pharmacies," Pitcher said. "They tend to load their appointments after midnight.”

You can also find appointments on sites like Dr. B, which matches people looking for appointments with doses.

"It literally takes 90 seconds," Dr. B founder Cyrus Massoumi said.

You just enter your data on a computer or cell phone. They'll match you up for free, and they don't stop.

"It does so until every single dose is spoken for," Massoumi said.

You'll want to bookmark the websites because appointments are about to get even harder to find come April, when eligibility expands in California.

"When Gov. Newsom says things like, 'We're going to open up to the entire world,' the problem is, exactly as you're describing, the vaccine appointments are in such short supply," Massoumi said.

If you're frustrated because your category has already come up and you haven't been able to get a shot, Dr. B will prioritize to make sure elderly communities and frontline workers get their shots.

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