So I’m 66 years old, and therefore I qualify to sign up for the Covid-19 vaccine in New York state under new rules issued this week.
I had been hearing from friends and sources how complicated and frustrating the signup was, so I dove in.
First I did the “am I eligible?” form on the New York State site to be sure I’m eligible. Yes!
So then I went to the “Locate Providers” page. That was where the fun began.
First place: No dice. Second place also.
At the third place, all the appointments are filled through Jan. 23. No dates are offered after that.
At these three places, you have to call ahead — no online booking or other messaging.
“Scheduling will start in a day or two please check back” at Rite-Aid. Shoot me now.
I wanted to schedule at this spot on St. Ann’s Avenue in the city, because a local person told me she got an appointment there. But I clicked on the “schedule” button and was sent back to the beginning of the process.
Westchester County Center in White Plains shows 94 days from today through mid-April. All of the days have 0 appointments available.
For sites with a New York City address, I kept getting kicked over to a New York City site. Similar results — no appointments.
I know some people who got vaccines at Phelps Hospital in Tarrytown, N.Y., so I put in the Phelps address into the zip radius search in the vaccine finder. The search tool seems to think Phelps isn’t giving vaccines.
I know some people who got vaccines at Westchester Medical Center, so I put the WMC address into the zip radius search. The search tool thinks WMC isn’t giving vaccines.
Northwell Health, in New Rochelle at the urgent care location, has no visits available.
That’s about all the fun I can take for one day. I think I’ll do some more backgrounding with friends (where did you get yours? did you get yours?) and try again — and hope that the vaccine distribution sites start to come up and running faster. Stay tuned.
(Update, Jan. 13: On my local Moms Facebook group, a couple of women who work at Mount Sinai Health Systems said Mount Sinai is vaccinating — though they do not seem to be on the New York State site. The group served up a link to the Mount Sinai reservation system, and I booked a slot on March 4, the earliest date I could get. As I was booking, the appointments vanished in front of my eyes. High demand! Here’s the link.)
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.