METROFOCUS: March 9, 2021

METROFOCUS COVID SPECIAL REPORT: HOW TO GET THE VACCINE

Governor Cuomo has announced 10 additional state-run vaccination sites that will open in coming weeks. As vaccine availability increases, will the same hold true for booking an appointment? Experts say a confusing online sign up process has left people of all ages behind- especially seniors and communities of color. Tonight, our experts offer top tips on how to book the elusive COVID-19 vaccine- from New York State to New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut. Whether you’re online or on the phone, Wall Street Journal Senior Personal Technology Columnist Joanna Stern and Daily News Editorial Board member Laura Nahmias will show you how to prep your computer and maneuver the sites to land a booking. You’ll hear about the COVID Angels and vaccine hunters who’ll book your appointment for you. Plus you’ll find out how to access the local sites monitoring the latest drops of the vaccine and how you can land a spot.

To read Joanna’s column, “Tech Tips to Help Score a Covid-19 Vaccine Appointment at CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and More,” click here.

 

NEED HELP BOOKING YOUR APPOINTMENT? 

 

NEW YORK STATE

Latest NYS vaccination locations and availability: Am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov

Most up-to-date NYS eligibility requirements: Covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/phased-distribution-vaccine 

NYS Hotline: 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829)

NYC Covid-19 Vaccine Finder: Vaccinefinder.nyc.gov

NYC Hotline: 1-877-VAX-4NYC

 

NY County Websites

Nassau: Vaccine.nassaucountyny.gov

Suffolk: Suffolkcountyny.gov/vaccine 

Westchester: Westchestergov.com

Rockland: Rcklnd.us/covid19 

Putnam: Putnamcountyny.com/covid-19-vaccine-information/

Albany: Albanycounty.com

Binghamton: Gobroomecounty.com/hd/coronavirus/vaccine

 

NEW JERSEY

NJ Covid-19 Information Hub: Covid19.nj.gov

NJ Vaccine Hotline: 1-855-568-0545 or 1-856-249-7007 (65 years & older)

For latest eligibility requirements click here.

NJ Megasites

Atlantic County Megasite: Vaccination.atlanticare.org

Bergen County Megasite: Hackensackmeridianhealth.org/covid19/meadowlands

Burlington County Megasite: Virtua.org/vaccine

Gloucester County Megasite: Pre-register at covidvaccine.nj.gov/

Middlesex County Megasite: Rwjbh.org/covid19vaccine

Morris County Megasite: Morriscountynj.gov/vaccination

 

CONNECTICUT

CT Vaccine Portal: Portal.ct.gov/vaccine-portal/

CT Hotline: 1-877-918-2224

CT Online VAMS Enrollment: Dphsubmissions.ct.gov/OnlineVaccine

Click here for state eligibility requirements.

 

CT Health Providers

UCONN Health: Health.uconn.edu or call 1-860-679-5589

Hartford HealthCare: Visit hartfordhealthcare.org/vaccines or register through MyChartPLUS; To register via phone call 1-860-827-7690 or toll-free at 1-833-943-5721.

 

COVID ANGELS & OTHER HELPFUL SITES

 

PHARMACIES & OTHER VACCINE PROVIDERS 

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

THERE'S NO DOUBT WE'VE ARRIVED AT A PIVOTAL MOMENT AGAINST COVID 1 IN9.

WITH MILLIONS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR THE VACCINE AND THOUSANDS GETTING VACCINATED EVERY DAY, MANY OF THE MOST VULNERABLE ARE STILL STRUGGLING TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS.

A CONFUSING SIGNUP PROCESS HAS LEFT PEOPLE OF ALL AGES BEHIND BUT ESPECIALLY SENIORS AND MEMBERS OF COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

AND TONIGHT, WE ARE HERE, HOPEFULLY, TO HELP.

THIS EVENING'S COVID SPECIAL REPORT, HOW TO GET THE VACCINE, IS DEVOTED ENTIRELY TO HELPING YOU NAVIGATING THIS COMPLEX PROCESS AS WELL AS EXPLORING THE ROLLOUT'S MAJOR PROBLEMS AND SOME POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS.

TO HELP US DO THAT, WE ARE VERY PLEASED TO WELCOME FIRST, LAURA NAHMIAS, A MEMBER OF 'THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS' EDITORIAL BOARD AND CLOSELY COVERING THE REGIONAL VACCINE ROLLOUT.

AND ALSO, JOANNA STERN, A SENIOR PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY COLUMNIST AT 'THE WALL STREET JOURNAL' AND AUTHOR OF THE RECENT ARTICLE 'TECH TIPS: HOW TO SCORE AN APPOINTMENT AT CVS, WALGREENS, RITE AID AND MORE.'

THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US, TO BRING US YOUR PERSPECTIVES AND ALL OF THIS.

SO, WE HAVE A LOT TO COVER.

WE'RE GOING TO FOCUS ON GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS AND SOME PARTICULAR PROBLEMS THERE AND SOME THOUGHTS YOU MIGHT HAVE FOR SOLUTIONS, FOR HELP, FOR AID FOR THE FOLKS THAT ARE OUT THERE.

SO, LET'S START OFF WITH THE DOWN STATE AREA, NEW YORK CITY AND ROCKLAND, WESTCHESTER, PUTNAM COUNTIES AND FOCUS ON SOME OF THE TECH AREAS, SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES AND, AGAIN, SOME SUGGESTS HERE.

SO, LAURA, LET ME ASK YOU TO START OFF, IF WE CAN.

AND IN TERMS OF NEW YORK CITY, WE'VE HEARD AN AWFUL LOT FROM THE BEGINNING ABOUT THE NEW YORK CITY WEBSITE AND WHAT IT'S GOING TO PROVIDE FOR ALL OF THE FOLKS OUT THERE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR GUIDANCE AND THE ABILITY TO FIND THEIR SHOT IF YOU WILL.

WHAT ARE YOU SEEING IN TERMS OF THAT NEW YORK CITY WEBSITE?

WELL, IT'S INCREDIBLY CONFUSING AND ELABORATE AND MAYBE NEEDLESSLY ELABORATE BUT ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THAT THE CITY'S MAJOR HAS IDENTIFIED IS THE FACT THAT CREATING A SYSTEM, A NEW YORK CITY-RUN SYSTEM THAT WOULD ALLOW YOU TO BOOK APPOINTMENTS AT FACILITIES THAT AREN'T CITY-RUN, AT PRIVATE HOSPITALS OR COMMUNITY CARE ORGANIZATIONS, THAT DON'T -- THAT ALL ALREADY USE THE SAME SOFTWARE OR HAVE THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH EACH OTHER ELECTRONICALLY ALREADY IN PLACE, THEY DON'T HAVE THE ABILITY TO DO THAT.

CURRENTLY.

THAT'S THE MAYOR'S EXPLANATION.

IS THAT SOMETHING THAT COULD HAVE BEEN PUT INTO PLACE MANY MONTHS AGO, MAYBE.

BUT WE ARE WHERE WE ARE AND SO YOU CURRENTLY HAVE A PROCESS WHERE OF COURSE YOU GO TO THE CITY'S WEBSITE, IT DOES SHOW YOU A MAP OF ALL OF THE DIFFERENT PROVIDERS AND LOCATIONS AND LINKS TO WHERE YOU CAN GO TO SIGN UP FOR APPOINTMENTS.

YOU, DEPENDING ON THE SITE, HAVE TO CLICK ON THEIR SITE AND MAY GO THROUGH AN ELABORATE SIGNUP PROCESS OR ENROLLMENT PROCESS AT EACH DIFFERENT SITE THAT'S NOT STANDARDIZED ACROSS THE CITY SYSTEM.

AND THAT IS CONFUSING AND BYZANTINE KIND OF SIGNUP PROCESS.

WE HEARD A LOT ABOUT THE STATE OF NEW YORK'S SITE AND HOW THAT'S SUPPOSED TO WORK.

TALK ABOUT THAT A LITTLE BIT.

HOW IS THAT SUPPOSED TO WORK AND HOW IS IT ACTUALLY WORKING?

WELL, I ACTUALLY DID LOOK MORE OF THE NATIONAL SITES AND SO IT'S INTERESTING TO LOOK AT NEW YORK, BECAUSE AT LEAST IT HAS A SITE.

IT'S NOT A VERY GOOD ONE, AS YOU GUYS HAVE BOTH SAID HERE, AND THERE ARE ISSUES, BUT A CENTRAL PLACE WHERE YOU CAN SEE A LOT OF THE LOCATIONS AND IT'S NOT NECESSARILY ONLY ORGANIZED BY BOROUGH OR BY TOWN, IS ACTUALLY A STEP AHEAD OF OTHER PLACES IN THE COUNTRY.

SO NOT TO SAY THAT, AGAIN, IT'S NOT THE HUCKER GAMES IN NEW YORK, IT IS THE HUNGER GAMES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, BUT THIS IS A STEP HERE TO GIVING AT LEAST PEOPLE A CENTRAL PLACE TO SEE ALL OF THE LOCATIONS OR, AND AGAIN, THEY'RE NOT ALWAYS SHOWING THE AVAILABILITY, THAT'S A BIG ISSUE WITH SOME OF THESE SITES, OR IF THEY ARE, IT'S VERY LIMITED, BUT YOU DO HAVE THAT CENTRAL LIST.

> IF SOMEBODY SAID TO YOU, LAURA, YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, JOANNA, YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THIS, YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW MUCH ABOUT THIS.

I GOT SOME DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO GET IT ON MY COMPUTER, BUT WHAT DO I DO WHEN I GET THERE?

WELL, I THINK FOR NEW YORK CITY AND FOR NEW YORK STATE, YOU CAN EXPECT TO BE ASKED A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT QUESTIONS THAT ARE INTENDED TO VERIFY WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE ONE OF THE PEOPLE WHO IS IN A CATEGORY THAT'S CURRENTLY ELIGIBLE TO GET THE VACCINE.

YOU'RE GOING TO BE ASKED TO PROVIDE YOUR BIRTH DATE.

YOU'RE GOING TO BE ASKED TO SAY WHETHER OR NOT YOU'RE A FOOD WORKER OR A HEALTH CARE WORKER OR A FIREFIGHTER OR A POLICE OFFICER AND YOU ARE SIGNING THAT UNDER PENALTY OF -- OF A VERY SIGNIFICANT FINE IF YOU ARE FOUND TO BE NOT TELLING THE TRUTH.

AND THEN YOU'RE GOING TO GO THROUGH A SERIES OF PAGES THAT ASK YOU ABOUT UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITIONS, WHETHER YOU HAVE A BLEEDING DISORDER OR TAKE BLOOD THINNERS, QUESTIONS LIKE THAT, AND THEN EVENTUALLY TAKEN TO THE PLACE WHERE YOU, HOPEFULLY, AFTER A LITTLE BIT OF A DELAY LOADING THE PAGE, YOU CAN BOOK AN APPOINTMENT TO GET A VACCINE.

AND THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO, YOU KNOW, READ THE FINE PRINT, COME UP WITH THE DOCUMENTATION AND PAPERWORK TO PROVE THAT YOU ARE WHO YOU SAY YOU ARE AND YOU BELONG IN ONE OF THESE CATEGORIES AND THEN YOU SHOW UP TO GET YOUR SHOT.

I STARTED IN ON THIS A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, TRYING TO BOOK FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND I HAVE REVIEWED COMPUTERS FOR NEARLY TWO DECADES.

I'M ON THE CUTTING EDGE, I'VE GOT A STACK OF 25 COMPUTERS OVER THERE THAT I'VE REVIEWED OVER THE YEARS.

I AM VERY SAVVY AND I GOT INTO THIS PROCESS AND FELT VERY OVERWHELMED.

THAT IS NOT A GOOD THING.

AND SO --

THE EXPERT IS LIKE, YOU ALL ARE FEELING OVERWHELMED -- IT DOESN'T BODE WELL FOR THE OTHER FOLKS OUT THERE.

NO.

THE SYSTEM IS HORRIBLE.

IT'S NOT ONE SPECIFIC SYSTEM, IT'S ALL OF THE SYSTEMS, WHICH IS PART OF THE PROBLEM.

WE'VE GOT ALL OF THESE FRACTURED BOOKING SYSTEMS AND GOING THROUGH DIFFERENT TOWNS AND LOCAL STATES AND NATIONWIDE PHARMACIES AND IT'S VERY FRACTURED.

SO THAT'S ONE BIG THING TO EXPECT IS THAT YOU'RE GOING TO JUST BE GOING TO LOTS OF DIFFERENT PLACES TO LOOK AT THIS STUFF.

AND I DO WANT TO SAY, YES, I WAS OVERWHELMED, BUT I GOT TO A PLACE WHERE I HAD A SYSTEM AND I THINK IT IS VERY IN REACH FOR MANY PEOPLE WHO ARE GOOD WITH COMPUTERS TO FIND A SYSTEM.

AND IF YOU'RE NOT GOOD WITH COMPUTERS, YOU HAVE TO ASK FOR HELP.

AND THERE ARE SOME TRICKS AND SOME SAFETY TRICKS, OR TIPS, TO MAKING SURE YOU'RE SAFE IN THAT PROCESS AND I WANT TO BE VERY CLEAR, YOU WILL GET THAT VACCINE.

AT THE END OF THIS PROCESS, SOME WAY, SHAPE OR FORM, YOU WILL GET IT, BUT THE PROCESS TO GET IT IS NOT GOING TO BE FUN.

ONE OF MY TOP TIPS IS, YOU HAVE TO THINK LOCALLY.

AND SO THE BIGGEST RESOURCE I FOUND ARE FACEBOOK GROUPS, LOCAL FACEBOOK GROUPS WHERE YOU HAVE VOLUNTEERS OR WHAT SOME ARE CALLING ANGELS OR VACCINE HUNTERS.

THEY TEND TO BE ON THE YOUNGER SIDE, PEOPLE WHO ARE HELPING OLDER PEOPLE OR PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT TECH LITERAL OR WHOA MAY NOT HAVE THE COMPUTER OR THE INTERNET ACCESS THEY NEED, AND THEY ARE SCOURING AND LOOKING FOR APPOINTMENTS, THEY'RE TAKING PERSONAL INFORMATION FROM PEOPLE TO THEN GO BOOK THEM THE APPOINTMENTS.

I'VE ACTUALLY DONE THIS FOR AROUND 15 OF OUR FAMILY FRIENDS AND OTHER FRIENDS AND NOW CONTACTS OF OTHER FRIENDS.

AND MY BIGGEST TIP THERE IS JUST BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE INFORMATION YOU'RE GIVING.

DO NOT PAY PEOPLE FOR THIS.

IF SOMEONE IS DOING THIS FOR A PRICE, THAT'S NOT RIGHT.

AND BE VERY CAREFUL.

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER IS USUALLY NOT NEEDED.

ACTUALLY, I'LL SAY IT'S JUST NOT NEEDED.

THERE MAY BE SOME PLACES THAT ASK FOR IT, YOU CAN SKIP THAT.

EVEN INSURANCE NUMBER, YOU DON'T NEED TO PROVIDE THAT.

USUALLY IT'S NAME DATE OF BIRTH, PHYSICAL ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, EMAIL ADDRESS.

LAURA, IF YOU GET A PHONE CALL AND SOMEBODY IS SAYING, I CAN HELP YOU, YOU DON'T KNOW ME, IT'S NOT A FAMILY MEMBER OR FRIEND, I CAN HELP YOU GET THE VACCINE HERE, SHOULD YOU BE HANGING UP PRETTY MUCH ON THAT PERSON?

WELL, IT DEPENDS ON WHO IS CALLING.

IF IT'S SOMEBODY YOU KNOW OR SOMEBODY FROM AN ORGANIZATION YOU KNOW OR ARE FAMILIAR WITH, I WOULD NOT GIVE OUT YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER OR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, INSURANCE INFORMATION, BUT DO A LITTLE BIT OF DUE DILIGENCE AND YOU MIGHT BE GETTING A WELL-INTENDED OFFER.

DON'T PAY ANYBODY FOR THE HELP.

EXACTLY.

DON'T GIVE THE INFORMATION THAT WE TALKED ABOUT.

BUT THERE COULD BE A VALUE OF SOMEBODY FROM A GROUP REACHING OUT.

LET'S SHIFT OUR GEOGRAPHICAL FOCUS HERE FOR A MOMENT AND LET'S GET TO UPSTATE NEW YORK AREA, OKAY, SO, ALBANY, BINGHAMTON, THE SYRACUSE AREA.

WE'RE HEARING SOME PEOPLE SAY, YOU KNOW WHAT, UP IN THAT AREA, THE MORE RURAL AREAS, WE'RE SEEING A DIVIDE BETWEEN THE OPPORTUNITIES TO GET THE SHOT, BETWEEN, LET'S SAY, RURAL AND URBAN.

LAURA, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

ARE YOU SEEING THAT IN ANY OF YOUR REPORTING OR CONVERSATIONS?

ABSOLUTELY.

AND I THINK IT'S REALLY A REFLECTION OF THE WAY THAT THE STATE CONSTRUCTED ITS VACCINE DELIVERY PROGRAM, WHICH IS REALLY A VERY TOP DOWN PROGRAM, RULES AND REGULATIONS AND DECIDING WHAT KIND OF PLACES, PHARMACIES, HOSPITALS, COMMUNITY HEALTH CLINICS, SHOULD GET DOSES, IS A DECISION THAT'S COMING FROM THE TOP DOWN, FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE ON DOWN AND YOU -- YOU IMAGINE THAT EVERY COMMUNITY IS DIFFERENT.

ROCHESTER IS DIFFERENT FROM SYRACUSE IS DIFFERENT FROM BUFFALO, THERE ARE DIFFERENT ORGANIZATIONS AND ENTITIES IN EACH COMMUNITY WHO HAVE THE EXPERIENCE REACHING OUT TO ELDERLY PEOPLE OR PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE CARS TO GET TO A MASS VACCINATION SITE, FOR EXAMPLE, AND A BUNCH OF THE DIFFERENT CUEING EXPERTS THAT WE'VE TALKED TO AT THE EDITORIAL BOARD AND OTHER PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS HAVE TOLD US THAT A REALLY GOOD PROCESS IS ONE THAT IS GOING TO BE FLEXIBLE TO LOCAL CONCERNS AND INCORPORATE THEM AND TAKE ADVICE AND FEEDBACK FROM THE GROUND UP AND SO WE ARE SEEING THIS SPLIT AND THIS PROBLEM, IT'S REALLY A LOGISTICAL PROBLEM UPSTATE, THAT MASS VACCINATION CENTERS HAVE BEEN CONSTRUCTED THAT ARE VERY DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ELDERLY OR WHO HAVE DIFFICULTY DRIVING --

IT'S NOT AS IF THE GOVERNOR IS SAYING, WE'RE IGNORING THE PEOPLE ON THE RURAL AREAS AND FOCUS ON THE URBAN AREAS, IT'S A QUESTION OF LOGISTICS AND SITE AVAILABILITY?

ABSOLUTELY.

ARE WE SEEING A SCENARIO WHERE THE FARM SIPS BECOMING PART OF THE DISTRIBUTION NETWORK CAN MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE?

DEFINITELY.

DEFINITELY.

THE PHARMACIES, THE BIGGEST PHARMACIES, THE NATIONWIDE PHARMACIES, HAVE REPORTED OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS, LOTS OF INVENTORY COMING, NOW ALSO WITH JOHNSON & JOHNSON ON THE BANDWAGON, MORE INVENTORY.

THEY'VE SET UP A LOT OF THEIR STORES, CVS, RITE AID, WALGREENS, HAVE SET UP THEIR STORES, NOT EVERYWHERE, BUT IN MANY OF THE KEY MARKETS, BUT GETTING BACK TO WHAT LAURA WAS SAYING, THAT CAN ALSO FOLLOW UNDER RURAL AND URBAN DIVIDE.

I'VE SEEN A LOT OF EXAMPLES OF CVSs AND RITE AIDS IN RURAL AREAS OUTSIDE OF BOTH MANHATTAN AND EVEN HERE IN NEW JERSEY, THAT ARE REALLY EXPANDING THEIR VACCINE AVAILABILITY.

QUESTION THEN COMES DOWN TO, CAN YOU ACTUALLY GET A SLOT?

CAN YOU FIND THE SLOT ON THEIR WEBSITE?

SO, ONCE AGAIN, ADVICE, ESSENTIALLY, BE DILIGENT?

GO ON THE WEBSITE REPEATEDLY?

TALKING ABOUT -- I JUST HAD TO UNDERGO, I THINK I MENTIONED THIS, I HAD TO UNDERGO SOME MAJOR BACK SURGERY SO I WAS LAID UP FOR AWHILE, I HAD SOME HARDWARE PUT IN, AND FOR A LOT OF NIGHTS, I WASN'T SLEEPING MUCH.

I'M IN THE CATEGORY, I'M 70, I'M OKAY FOR THAT, JUST WEIRD HOURS OF THE NIGHT, I'D KIND OF SAY, ALL RIGHT, I'M NOT REALLY SLEEPING SO I'LL COME DOWNSTAIRS AND EVENTUALLY, WE WERE ABLE TO GET OUR SHOTS, BUT I FOUND THAT THAT FOR US WORKED.

IS THAT, I MEAN, I HATE TO SAY TO PEOPLE, GET UP AT 3:00 IN THE MORNING, BUT IS THAT SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD BE CONTEMPLATING?

YES.

WHAT I DETAILED IN MY PIECE IS A PATTERN AT SOME OF THE BIGGER PHARMACY CHAINS TO RELEASE NEW APPOINTMENTS AND WHAT PEOPLE ARE CALLING IN THIS COMMUNITY DROPS WHERE THEY HAVE BIG DROPS OF APPOINTMENTS AT CERTAIN TIMES.

CVS, AGAIN, COMPANIES WOULDN'T SAY SPECIFICALLY, BUT THE FACEBOOK GROUPS HAVE BEEN VERY IN TOUCH WITH SORT OF WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THESE WEBSITES.

CVS TEND TO GO EARLIER IN THE MORNING, SO, WHEN YOU WAKE UP, 6:50 TO 7:50 IN THE MORNING.

RITE AID SOMETIMES NEAR MI MIDNIGHT.

ALSO YOU'LL SEE THOSE SORT OF PATTERNS HAPPENING WITH CERTAIN HOSPITALS.

WE'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT SORT OF MORE SOUTHERN, BUT SOME OF THESE OTHER SOUTHERN PHARMACIES LIKE PUBLIX, THEY HAVE A CERTAIN SYSTEM WHERE THEY ONLY OPEN AT 7:00 A.M.

ONE VERY IMPORTANT THING TO DO IS TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE PATTERNS IN THOSE TIMES OF THE APPOINTMENT RELEASES.

> STEP ONE.

BOOKMARK THE WEBSITES AND LEARN THE PATTERNS.

GATHER AND BOOKMARK THE LINKS TO THE WEBSITES THAT ALLOW YOU TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS IN YOUR AREA.

STEP TWO.

SET UP AUTO FILL IN YOUR WEB BROWSER.

ALL BROWSERS HAVE THIS.

IN CHROME, GO TO PREFERENCES, AUTO FILL, ADDRESSES AND MORE.

ONE THING YOU CANNOT AUTO FILL, YOUR SHINSURANCE INFORMATION.

BUT YOU CAN SKIP THAT INFO ALTOGETHER ON SOME SITES.

STEP THREE, SET UP BROWSER EXTENSIONS.

THE FIRST, A BROWSER REFRESH EXTENSION CALLED PAGE REFRESH.

THIS ALLOWS YOU TO REFRESH THE SITE EVERY FEW SECONDS OR MINUTES WITHOUT ANY CLICKING, SO YOU CAN SEE IF IT'S BEEN UPDATED WITH NEW APPOINTMENT TIMES.

VISUAL PING.

YOU INPUT A WEBSITE AND YOU TELL IT TO WATCH A CERTAIN PART OF IT.

AN IMAGE OR TEXT.

IF THERE'S A CHANGE TO IT, IT WILL ALERT YOU WITH AN EMAIL.

LET'S MOVE ONTO LONG ISLAND.

AND LAURA, LET ME START WITH YOU HERE.

WE -- TALKS OF, AGAIN, SENIORS, TECH PROBLEMS, DISTANCE PROBLEMS AND ALSO SOME SUGGESTIONS ABOUT RACIAL DISPARITY OUT THERE.

CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE HURDLES THAT PEOPLE ARE ENCOUNTERING ON LONG ISLAND AND WHAT WE CAN BE DOING ABOUT IT?

WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT ANY VACCINE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM THAT IS BASED ON OUR EXISTING HEALTH CARE DELIVERY SYSTEM, A, AND B, ON ACCESS TO HIGH SPEED INTERNET AND A COMPUTER, IS GOING TO BE A SYSTEM THAT PRIVILEGES THE WEALTHY AND WHITER PEOPLE AMONG US OVER -- OVER POORER, NONWHITE RESIDENTS.

SO, I THINK THE DISPARITIES IN RACE ARE ABSOLUTELY TIED TO THAT.

AND ALSO INITIALLY, A LOT OF DISPARITY QUESTIONS FOCUSED AROUND SOME VULNERABLE PEOPLE BEING CONCERNED ABOUT -- NOT THAT THEY WOULDN'T WANT TO GET THE VACCINE EVENTUALLY, BUT THAT THEY DIDN'T WANT TO BE THE FIRST PEOPLE TO GET IT, JUST LIKE -- I WOULDN'T WANT TO BUY THE FIRST iPHONE THAT CAME OUT ON THE MARKET, YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY MAKE A NEW ONE OR WHATEVER, THE FIRST RUN OF A CAR THAT'S BRAND NEW.

THAT'S WHERE LAURA AND I VERY MUCH DIFFER, BY THE WAY.

WELL, YOU KNOW --

BUT I RESPECT YOU.

YEAH.

THERE'S -- THERE'S A LEGACY OF DISTRUST AND FUNDAMENTAL ABUSES BETWEEN GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE PROGRAMS AND THE WAY THAT THOSE HAVE TREATED --

WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THAT HERE ON THE SHOW AND THESE ARE NOT THINGS THAT ARE MYTHS.

THESE ARE THINGS THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

YES.

SO, AGAIN, DOES THAT MEAN YOU SHOULD NOT BE GETTING THE VACCINE?

WELL, EXPERTS SAY, NO, IT DOESN'T.

BUT DOES THAT MEAN THAT WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THAT EXISTS OUT THERE AND WE HAVE TO CONFRONT IT IN SOME FASHION?

I THINK THAT SEEMS TO BE CORRECT, YES?

WELL, YES.

AND GOOD NEWS, THIS WEEK, A LOT OF LEADERS AND LAWMAKERS ARE SAYING IS THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE, WHICH IS A SINGLE DOSE, IT DOES NOT REQUIRE STORAGE IN A ULTRA COLD FREEZER THAT ALMOST NOBODY HAS, IT'S ALMOST ONLY IN BIG HOSPITALS, AND THAT COULD MEAN AND SHOULD MEAN THAT WE CAN HAVE MORE VACCINE DISTRIBUTION SITES IN CHURCHES, COMMUNITY CENTERS, LOCAL NONPROFITS, IT CAN GO TO MORE PLACES THAT HAVE BETTER RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKERS OR WHO ARE NONWHITE WHO DON'T --

MAKE THEM MORE COMFORTABLE IN THE ENVIRONMENT.

ABSOLUTELY.

> JOANNA, LET ME JUMP TO NEW JERSEY WITH YOU, IF I MIGHT, OKAY?

LOVE NEW JERSEY.

JERSEY GIR, IL, JERSEY BOY H.

I STILL LIVE ON THE JERSEY SHORE.

YOU DON'T WANT TO LEAVE NEW JERSEY.

NEVER.

SO WE KNOW THAT THERE WAS -- THERE HAVE BEEN PROBLEMS WITH THE VACCINE ROLLOUT, THERE WAS -- THERE'S A CENTRALIZED SYSTEM THAT WE WERE TOLD AT THE BEGINNING IS GOING TO BE GREAT, YOU GO TO ONE PLACE AND YOU'LL FIND IT AND YOU'LL GET PLUGGED IN, RIGHT?

BUT THERE HAVE BEEN DIFFICULTIES HERE.

LET ME -- BEFORE I GET TO THAT, QUICK QUESTION.

A COUPLE OF INTERESTING THINGS COMING UP.

AND THE TWO OF YOU MENTIONED SOME OF THIS.

THERE ARE PEOPLE CALLED COVID ANGELS IN NEW JERSEY, SIGNIFICANT PRESENCE IN NEW JERSEY, WHERE THEY ARE HELPING THE LESS TECH SAVVY, INCLUDING MANY SENIORS BOOK APPOINTMENTS, AND I WANT TO TAKE A LISTEN TO SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES AT NJ SPOTLIGHT NEWS REPORT AND LISTEN TO WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY.

TAKE A LISTEN HERE.

THE BIGGEST ISSUE IS THAT THERE'S NO CENTRALIZED SCHEDULING SYSTEM.

SO WHEN MY MOTHER SAYS, I HAVE THREE PEOPLE WHO NEED APPOINTMENTS, YOU KNOW, LAST NIGHT, WE HAD THREE LADIES THAT WE WERE TRYING TO HELP AND MY FIRST QUESTION IS, HOW FAR CAN THEY TRAVEL?

BECAUSE SOMETIMES YOU CAN GET AN APPOINTMENT BUT IT'S TWO HOURS AWAY.

AND THAT'S NOT HELPFUL TO A 93-YEAR-OLD WOMAN.

JOANNA, HOW ABOUT THAT CENTRALIZED SYSTEM THAT WAS TRUMPETED AS GOING TO PUT NEW JERSEY AND I LOVE NEW JERSEY, BUT WAS GOING TO PUT NEW JERSEY IN A POSITION THAT, YEAH, IT'S GOING TO GO OUT THERE FOR EVERYBODY.

HOW HAS THAT BEEN WORKING?

NOT VERY WELL.

AT LEAST ACCORDING TO MY BOOKING EFFORTS.

YOU KNOW, I'VE BEEN TO, I DON'T KNOW, PROBABLY HAVE 15 DIFFERENT SITES BOOKMARKED FOR NEW JERSEY IN MY BROWSER.

I HAVE A COUPLE THAT I DEFINITELY REALLY TRUST AND CERTAINLY I CAN GET A BOOKING AROUND MIDNIGHT THAT I BOOK A LOT OF PEOPLE INTO THAT NEED HELP.

DEFINITELY DON'T USE THE CENTRALIZED WEBSITE TO DO ANY OF THAT.

I FOUND, AGAIN, MY EXPERIENCE, I TRIED THAT FIRST AND BASICALLY, I GOT A -- WE'LL GET BACK TO YOU KIND OF RESPONSE.

YEAH.

FROM THEM, SO, I TRIED THE COUNTY WEBSITE AND THEN ULTIMATELY STARTED GOING TO PARTICULAR LOCAL HOSPITALS AND THINGS LIKE THAT AND THAT ACTUALLY EVENTUALLY WORKED FOR US.

YEAH.

BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THAT, IT IS A PROBLEM.

LAURA, HOW ABOUT THIS NOTION OF OTHER PEOPLE JUMPING IN?

AND I KNOW ALSO, AND I DON'T NOTE IF YOU CAN SPEAK TO THAT, MAYBE JOANNA CAN, BUT THE VACCINE FINDER SYSTEM THAT THE CD CAN C IS PUTTING TOGETHER, THAT IN CONJUNCTION WITH COVID ANGELS.

HOW EFFECTIVE CAN THEY BE?

WELL, I THINK AS -- THERE'S A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE THAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW FROM EARLY DECEMBER, WHEN THE VACCINE WAS SO SCARCE AND EVERYTHING WAS SO CONFUSED AND MESSED UP, THAT WE ARE JUST SEEING A MASSIVE FLOWERING OF THE SUPPLY.

AS YOU PROBABLY ARE AWARE, THE PRESIDENT IS NOW SAYING THAT WE WILL HAVE ENOUGH VACCINES TO VACCINATE ALL ADULT AMERICANS, 300 MILLION ADULT AMERICANS, BY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.

BUMPING IT UP MAYBE TWO MONTHS IN ADVANCE OF WHAT THEY ORIGINALLY TOLD US.

RIGHT.

SO MORE -- MORE VACCINE FINDING CAPABILITY, MORE TECHNOLOGY IS DEFINITELY GOING TO HELP BUT IT'S HARD TO SEPARATE HOW EFFECTIVE THAT IS FROM THE FACT THAT THERE ARE JUST GOING TO BE A LOT MORE SUPPLY THAN THERE WAS A FEW MONTHS AGO, THAT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE AS HARD FOR YOU TO GET AN APPOINTMENT IN TWO WEEKS AS IT WAS A FEW WEEKS AGO.

AND THAT'S FANTASTIC NEWS FOR ALL OF US.

> LET ME JUMP TO CONNECTICUT, RIGHT?

AND CONNECTICUT HAS TAKEN A BIT OF A DIFFERENT APPROACH IN TERMS OF ADMINISTERING THE VACCINE.

THE GOVERNOR RECENTLY OPTED FOR AN AGE-BASED SYSTEM THAT'S THE CORE OF THEIR DISTRIBUTION.

RUNS COUNTER, ESSENTIALLY, TO WHAT'S BEEN RECOMMENDED BY THE CDC AND SOME OTHER AGENCIES.

CARVES OUT AN EXCEPTION FOR TEACHERS.

CONNECTICUT RESIDENTS CAN SIGN UP ON THE WEB PORTAL WITH THE CDC.

OTHER OPTIONS FOR GETTING THE SHOT.

TAKE A LISTEN FOR A SECOND TO WHAT THE STATE'S CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER SAID ABOUT THIS.

YOU CAN CALL US AND GET BOOKED TO AN APPOINTMENT CO DIRECTLY THERE.

A NUMBER OF OUR PARTNERS ARE BOOKING APPOINTMENTS DIRECTLY.

THE FEDERAL PHARMACY PROGRAMS, CVS, WALGREENS, WALMART, THEY'RE BOOKING DIRECTLY.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE IDEA OF SAYING, THE CATEGORIES ARE GREAT, BUT ESSENTIALLY, I THINK WHAT CONNECTICUT IS SAYING, WE KNOW STATISTICALLY, THE MOST VULNERABLE GROUP HERE ARE PEOPLE 65 AND OLDER.

THE NUMBERS TELL US THAT.

SO, CONNECTICUT SAYS, THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO USE TO DRIVE OUR DISTRIBUTION MECHANISM.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

LAURA, YOU FIRST.

I THINK -- EVEN MORE THAN THE FACT THAT A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF FATALITIES ARE TAKING PLACE AMONG PEOPLE WHO ARE 65 AND OLDER IS THE FACT THAT EXPERTS SAY THAT SIMPLICITY IS REALLY IMPORTANT IF YOU'RE SETTING UP A VACCINE DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM.

A SYSTEM LIKE WHAT NEW YORK HAS, FOR EXAMPLE, WHERE YOU HAVE CATEGORIES OF PEOPLE, FOOD WORKERS ARE ELIGIBLE, WELL, WHAT'S A FOOD WORKER?

IT'S NOT LIKE YOU GET A CARD FROM THE STATE WHEN YOU BECOME A WAITRESS THAT SAYS, HERE, YOU ARE A FOOD WORKER.

OR -- PEOPLE HAVE A HARD TIME KNOWING WHAT CATEGORY THEY'RE IN, THE CATEGORIES ARE CHANGING.

A AN AGE-BASED SYSTEM, ALMOST EVERYBODY IS GOING TO HAVE SOME DOCUMENT THAT SHOWS HOW OLD THEY ARE.

IT'S A THING THAT YOU KNOW, MUCH MORE INTUITIVELY THAN WHAT CATEGORY OF WORKER YOU ARE.

AND THE SIMPLICITY OF IT CAN MAKE SPEED HAPPEN.

AND SPEED IS KEY.

JOANNA, WE HAVE A MINUTE LEFT HERE, I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU THE LAST WORD ON THIS IDEA, AGAIN, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ADVICE ON HOW IT HAPPENS, YOU KNOW, HERE, LAURA SAYS SPEED, EASILY RECOGNIZABLE CATEGORIES, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE APPROACH CONNECTICUT IS TAKING?

I MEAN, CERTAINLY FROM AN EFFICIENCY AND ORGANIZATIONAL STANDPOINT COMPARED TO A LOT OF OTHER STATES, AND I HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY EMAILS -- I HAVE GOTTEN 300 EMAILS, NONE MENTIONED THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT.

I'VE GOT LOTS OF OTHER STATES MENTIONED, NEED HELP IN THOSE STATES, HAVE NOT HEARD ABOUT CONNECTICUT, AND WE OBVIOUSLY LIVE IN THAT AREA WHERE WE WOULD LIKELY HEAR ABOUT IT.

SO, IT'S OBVIOUSLY WORKED P.

ALSO, THE PHARMACIES, MANY OF THE NATIONWIDE PHARMACIES, CVS AND RITE AID HAVE PRIORITIZED 65 AND OLDER.

IF YOU HAVE COMORBIDITIES OR OTHER THINGS, YOU CAN'T GET THOSE YET THROUGH THOSE PHARMACIES.

I WANT TO THANK BOTH OF YOU.

LAURA, JOANNA, YOU BOTH HAVE BEEN IMMENSELY HELPFUL HERE.

NOT JUST HIGHLIGHTING THE PROBLEMS, BUT MORE IMPORTANT, GETTING US A SENSE OF WHAT PEOPLE CAN DO TO GET AROUND THIS, AND IT'S BEEN VERY HELPFUL FROM BOTH OF YOU, SO, THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US AND HELPING US OUT.

I WANT TO THANK ALL OF US FOR JOINING US TONIGHT FOR THIS COVID SPECIAL REPORT, HOW TO GET THE VACCINE.

A REMINDER FOR YOU, TO GET A COMPLETE LIST OF THE RESOURCES WE DISCUSSED DURING THE SHOW AND ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR APPOINTMENTS, PLEASE VISIT US AT METROFOCUS.ORG.

SO, THANK YOU, AGAIN, ALL OF YOU FOR JOINING US, HAVE A GOOD NIGHT, AND ALL OF YOU, PLEASE STAY SAFE AND BE WELL.

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