Feb. 1—It was well past midnight when
It then occurred to Riley that the middle of the night might be the only chance to get such appointments, and she wondered if she might be able to help some other people, too.
"Then I did it for my brother, who is a teacher, and then my sister-in-law, who is double transplant recipient who could not get one anywhere," Riley said.
There is no question that the vaccination process in
In the weeks since, Riley has been trying to help as many people as she can to sign up for vaccine appointments.
"I just started messaging people I know and saying, 'Hey, is there someone you need help with?' " Riley said.
She thinks she has so far helped about 18 people get their shots.
"When I make an appointment for somebody else, I understand it as a gift. It's a gift I can give," she said.
"It's going very, very, very well," Cuomo said Friday at a news briefing from
But it isn't easy for anyone — especially older people with limited computer skills — to get them.
There are strict regulations on who is eligible to get appointments. First, front-line health care workers and residents and staff at nursing homes were the only ones eligible. Starting
But before the end of the week, the county started running out of vaccine and began canceling appointments.
A couple of weeks ago, after morning mass at
Riley reached out to the same pharmacy and got her parents on the waiting list there. Within 24 hours, they got their shots.
Riley got vaccinated, too, which she felt conflicted about. She's a teacher, but has been on family leave since Christmas to take care of her parents. The pharmacist who gave the shots to Riley's parents explained that the vaccines she had in stock were about to expire.
"We are going to waste this," the pharmacist said.
Riley has been spreading the word to fellow parishioners and friends and getting them on the drug store wait list, too.
She has also been busy figuring how to get other loved ones in other parts of the state vaccinated.
The online tools are maddening, she said, and she can't imagine how elderly people who aren't tech savvy would do it.
"It's either crashing or it's 'no appointments available' and then it would pop up ... and you have to click it super fast and then type in your name and you'd have to hit next right away," she said.
Riley is well aware that she is fortunate to be in the position to help her parents get vaccinated.
She isn't working at the moment and she has the ability to stay home with her parents. She is able to afford a computer, tablet and cellphone and has reliable Wi-Fi, something many poor people in
It is why she has been trying to help as many people as she can, even if it means being up at
"I can sleep another week. I don't have a job. My parents take afternoon naps," she said. "It's a blessing that this confluence of realities in my life allows this. The least I can do is help other people."
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