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NJ Covid Vaccine Volunteers Help the Hard-to-Reach Get Appointments

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Paula Peterscheck and Stephanie Hoyt started the group, which now numbers over 100, with the help of Facebook.

The race to vaccinate is leaving many people behind when it comes to making appointments -- the elderly, the disabled, those who don’t speak English, and those who don’t have computers or know how to use them, or who don’t even have cell phones.

Paula Peterscheck of Parsippany and Stephanie Hoyt of Ramsey to the rescue. With the help of Facebook they formed New Jersey Covid Vaccine Volunteers, 110 strong as of now, to help people make appointments and get vaccinated.

Peterscheck says the hardest cases are when people don’t have computers or even email.

“You know you have an appointment because you got a text message or an email saying this is where you’re going, this is who you’re meeting, at this time and this place,” she said, “but these people don’t have a way to receive those so we’re rushing to make emails up for these people like I’ve personally made I think 15 email accounts.”

Hoyt says they try to make it a speedy process.

“We try to make the appointments within 24 to 48 hours if they’re open to any brand of vaccine and they have open availability,” she said, “however it does get tricky when people only want Johnson and Johnson and can only go on Saturdays.”

How does it work? Peterscheck said she keeps all the necessary websites open, and waits for the beep.

“My phone will go off saying, on this Twitter feed, the appointments dropped at this location and so I immediately drop everything, go running across the house, pull open this window, and then just try as fast as I can to type people in,” she said.

She said they hear from many people who can’t leave their homes, and is urging towns and counties to start mobile vaccination sites to reach those people.

If you need help making a vaccine appointment, you can call 973-957-2359 or email NJCovidVaccineVolunteers@gmail.com.