CHICAGO (CBS) — Since the COVID-19 vaccine became available, volunteers have stepped forward online to help connect people with the shot, and many are kids who felt the need to find a solution in their neighborhoods.
Using a computer isn’t exactly easy for everyone, but for teens, it’s second nature. CBS 2’s Meredith Barack spoke with two students who, in between school and catching up with friends, have made it their mission to make sure complete strangers are getting vaccine appointments.READ MORE: Proposed Federal Legislation Would Impose Regulations To Prevent Black-Market Brokering Of Donated Body Parts
It’s before sunrise–5:41 a.m. to be exact–and Highland Park High School student Avi Rubin is awake, waiting for the clock to strike 6. He has the Walgreen’s vaccine site up on his computer, ready to fill appointments.
The teen not only devotes his early mornings, but his lunch hour, and other free time to finding vaccine slots for eligible people.
“I’m helping them because I see just how stressful it is and how ridiculous it is and for people who aren’t technology savvy. This is something that’s really difficult,” Rubin said.
In just the past 10 days, he’s booked more than 60 appointments for complete strangers.
12-year-old Leo Halperin, a volunteer for the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Vaccine Buddies, boasts similiar stats.
“I haven’t really kept track but roughly 50-plus probably,” Leo said.
Both teens were motivated after helping their family members track down vaccine appointments, saying they are able to book efficiently due to quick skills on the keyboard.READ MORE: Woodridge Residents Cope With Emotional Impact Of Damage From Sunday Night Tornado; Village Places Priority On Getting Power Back On
“I think it’s cause I’m 12 years old and I can figure out a computer,” Leo said. “My mom has sometimes a struggle figuring out the computer. I knew I would be good at this and I knew when they dropped, or released, I’d be able to get them.”
Both ask people searching for appointments to put information into a Google form that is transferred into a spreadsheet.
So why help out, when neither one is getting anything in return? (It is unknown when people under age 18 will even be allowed to get a shot.)
“It’s nice to know that you’re helping your community and you’re going to help your community stay safer,” Leo said.
Rubin agreed. “I feels awesome, it feels fantastic, I’m glad that I can help people and do something for people that they are struggling with.”
Both Leo and Avi had the same advice when it comes to finding a vaccine appointment. Be persistent, check on the hour– especially early in the morning–and use autofill so your information is ready to go because seconds matter when appointments are released.
For vaccine appointment help from Leo Halperin, click here.
For vaccine appointment help from Avi Rubin, click here.MORE NEWS: Residents Repairing Homes After Tornado Run Into Sky-High Prices For Lumber, Other Construction Materials
Individuals can also text VACCINE to 773-780-0074 to receive that link.