Volunteers helping to connect eligible Washington residents to vaccine appointments

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Find a COVID Shot WA (Share with Friends) 

A tech-savvy group of volunteers has taken on the task of connecting eligible seniors to vaccine appointments in Washington state.

So far, those in urban areas who own and use computers and are affiliated with health care systems are, with some difficulty getting appointments.

But we do not have a centralized national health system as Canada does, so connecting people to vaccines has been a scattershot approach.

Realizing that many people were being left out, a group of volunteers created a Facebook page Find a COVID Shot WA (Share with Friends) 

The "Search Party" team tracks all the vaccine sites and individually connects each person to the closest vaccine site. If the person asking needs more help, the Search Party volunteer makes the appointment for them.

Their emphasis is on current phase, bilingual, high risk and minority communities.

One of the administrators of the group, Steve Starr, recently posted this:

"The last 10 days have been humbling for our team (thank you) Here's what you've helped us accomplish:
  • Over 15,000 members have joined us
  • We have over 30 volunteers helping coordinate appointments for high risk/BIPOC communities 
  • Support for 10 Languages including ASL
  • Local and National Media Coverage- Seattle Times, Q13, KUOW, NPR, Kiro 7, King 5 (more coming)
  • 4000+ Posts / 30,000+ Comments / 63,000+ Likes/Loves
  • and most importantly......
  • Thousands of high risk community members scheduled for COVID vaccine appointments #caseclosed !"
Here's how to access their help. 

Go to the Facebook page and click Join. You will receive a notice immediately.

Post your information. 
  • Create a new post - do not make your request under someone else
  • Start with #Searching - they rely on hashtags to sort out the messages. They are getting over 1,000 new people a day
  • Provide basic information. For example: My parents are in Dryad and I'm in Shoreline. They are 82 and 83. My sister lives nearby and can drive them 50-75 miles to an appointment.
They do not want random comments, political opinions, or general complaints - they want to operate as efficiently as possible. They do want to hear the success stories. 

My favorite is the frustrated man in Arlington who said he had been checking for days and couldn't find anything. He was willing to drive as far as was necessary. He wrote back and said he heard from the Search Party immediately and had an appointment for the next day - at the Arlington Airport behind his house! 

They are looking for tech savvy volunteers to join them.

--Diane Hettrick


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