We still have a very long way to go. But as CBS 2’s Meredith Barack reported Tuesday, a movement on social media is hoping to take away some of the legwork.READ MORE: Seniors Can Schedule COVID Vaccine Appointments At The United Center Beginning Thursday
Vaccine hunters are aiming to score a coronavirus vaccine – but not just for themselves. They are also looking to help others do the same.
“I thought I won the lottery when I got my first appointment,” said Julee Brennan.
Brennan received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Cook County Health Department. The occupational therapist from Glenview said she was surprised when a second appointment wasn’t immediately scheduled.
“Next Wednesday will be 21 days for me, and it’s still not scheduled,” she said.
In what she said feels like a race against the clock, Brennan has been searching everywhere for a coveted appointment.
It’s a situation in which many people across the Chicagoland area are finding themselves – qualified for the shot, but unable to get it.
Enter Roger Naglewski.
“I came across Vaccinehunter.org and they have this website for all over the United States,” Naglewski said. “I was like, great, I’ll just click on the Chicago chapter or whatever – and there was no Chicago chapter.”
So Naglewski, who is searching for a vaccine himself, took it upon himself to start the Chicago Vaccine Hunters Facebook group on Sunday.
Since then, more than 100 people have joined – all with the same mission to find a way to get the vaccine.
“I love the fact that it’s not just me posting stuff on the site. It’s not just me doing the research,” Naglewski said. “It’s all these people that have joined the group and they’re like: ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea. I found this. They just opened up appointments on this site.’”READ MORE: Career Coach: Avoiding Scams While Job Searching
Some of the suggestions, Naglewski said, may require members to go to great lengths, literally, to get their shot.
Mississippi has a location down there, where if you’re meeting the requirements, they’re open.
Members like Ellena Vranas said the group is proving to be successful – even without a cross-country road trip.
“Somebody had posted there that Walgreens, you know, opened up at 6 a.m. for accepting appointments, so I was like, what?” Vranas said.
The dentist already has both her shots, but was able to book an appointment for her 69 year-old husband, who owns a bar and restaurant in the South Loop.
“This just takes a lot of weight off of my shoulders, and my daughter’s also, because he’s kind of a one-man show there right now,” Vranas said.
Vranas said it is unfortunate so many people are having such a tough time finding appointments, but the group gives her, and Naglewski, hope.
“Even after I get the vaccine, I need to keep this going,” Naglewski said. “When I hear from other people saying: ‘Wow, you’re helping me. This is releasing some of my anxiety,’ and I can identify with that, it makes me feel good.”
There is also a Midwest Vaccine Hunters group on Facebook, where members post about vaccines available in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.
Meanwhile, VaccineHunter.org, which Naglewski mentioned suggests searching local vaccination standby lists, calling local vaccination providers, and even visiting a local vaccine provider around closing time in the event they have excess vaccines to distribute.
We’ve put together several links to help you find the vaccine in our area. But remember that finding an open slot near you may be difficult:MORE NEWS: Bourbonnais Elementary Teachers Going On Strike Thursday Morning