Vaccine Hunters Help You Find COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment

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Counties across the Bay Area are opening appointments to thousands of people at once as April 15 - the expanded eligibility date - approaches.

This is all happening just as one of the vaccines, Johnson & Johnson, gets pulled out of service by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control.

The combination of events adds up to an even more difficult task to find available appointments to get a COVID-19 vaccine. However, some people have taken the task to hunt down an appointment for those that need it.

Nick Rodriguez is one of the many San Jose residents now eligible for a vaccine, but he has had no luck booking a time and date for it.

Californians 16 and older will become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, but appointments may be tightening up now that Johnson and Johnson vaccines have been put on pause. Cheryl Hurd takes a look at how health departments are handling the uncertainty.

"I haven't been able to get it yet," he said. "I'm trying to figure out when that can happen."

Dona Fisher, an Alameda County resident, wants to help people like Rodriguez.

Fisher is a retired chief financial officer turned vaccine finder who has managed to notch hundreds of appointments for people.

She says persistence pays off.

"Think of it as a video game; once you get to a certain level, whether it's a drug site, MyTurn, or whatever, don't go back ," she said. "Even if they say there are no more appointments, there are. Stay there, toggle, and something will show up."

Other people have turned to sites like Vaccine Fairy, which counts with more than a thousand tech-savvy volunteers nationwide willing to help people book a vaccine appointment.

The Vaccine Fairy site encrypts data to keep it safe and provides a personal touch by having volunteers reaching out to you to figure out what you can't and can do.

Both Vaccine Fairy and vaccine hunters, such as Fisher, are trying to ease the pain of finding a shot.

Dona Fisher shared with NBC Bay Area her 10 favorite sites to check for vaccine appointments. You can find those below:

  1. California Department of Public Health’s site:

2. California Covid-19 Vaccine Spotter: Updates every minute on availability at drugstores within a specified distance from any California zip code. Link here:

3. Vaccine Finder: Helps you find vaccine sites near a specified zip. Link here:

4. Albertson’s/Safeway Pharmacy Services: For pharmacies in Safeway and Albertson's. Link here:

5. CVS:

6. Rite Aid:

7. Walgreens:

8. Walmart:

9. Costco:

10. Bay Area County Health Departments:

Alameda County:

Contra Costa County:

Marin County:

San Francisco:

San Mateo County:

Santa Clara County:

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