ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Frustration grows as people rush to land an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine. And it’s something Governor Cuomo says is is in very low supply, with very high demand. This week the state received 250,000 doses of the vaccine, which is 50,000 doses less than weeks prior. Additionally, there’s now almost twelve million people statewide who are all eligible, and competing for an appointment.
Marlene Ledbetter of Webster has been checking the state website every day to book an appointment for a vaccine. She has not found any luck yet.
“I’ve been looking for about a week now, unsuccessfully.”
Others are finding luck, attributing their efforts to persistence and patience. Amy Button was able to find two appointments for her parents on the Tops website, after spending twenty minutes refreshing the website, and checking every location remotely close to her for openings.
“When I went on the website I was able to go through, gosh, every Tops from here to Buffalo just trying to find an appointment, gradually going farther and farther out and I was fortunate to find two appointments available at their Dansville location,” Button said.
Jonathan Canough is a social studies teacher with Canandaigua Academy who also found luck. He attributes patience, persistence, and help from the school district, but also says Ontario County has been more successful than other counties due to the smaller population.
“It’s amazing how quickly they fill up once you get in,” he said.
Canough originally signed up for an opening in February at Fairgrounds in Syracuse. A few days later, after a heads up from the district, he checked back in with the state portal. By just refreshing the page a few times, two new openings came up for him and his wife to schedule the following day, at locations that were closer.
“I had it at FF Thompson in Canandaigua,” he said. “If I was someone signing up, I would say sign up for whatever you can get initially, and then once you find a better one feel free to just cancel the other ones.”
Yesterday Monroe County announced the Rochester Convention Center is now playing a role in vaccine distribution, in addition to plans set for the Dome Arena to start opening up next week for rollout. While these bigger locations may speed up distribution – community members like Ledbetter are worried about accessibility for the elderly who may not be able to walk a few blocks downtown.
“My concern is, there is a lack of awareness for people who unable to possibly get to a vaccine site,” she said. “Or if they do get there, how they deal with parking some distance away, and having to walk a long distance and stand in line. I think there are people like that that no one seems to think of.”
As for finding an appointment opening, Canough and Button urge everyone to stay patient – and it might take some technological savviness. They both emphasized reaching out to older family members and friends who may need the extra help navigating all the websites and information.
“Just be persistent if you’re having trouble,” said Canough. “Try to help other people, to maybe that you know aren’t as tech savvy.”
“I’m a little quicker with technology I guess,” said Button. “So rather than sending my parents the link and saying, ‘hey, go on here,’ I knew it would be faster for me just to do it, because of how quickly the vaccination appointments were getting filled,” said Button.