Hints for scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine

To the Editor:

My family found registering to get the vaccine in New York to be a frustrating experience. Relatives who are over 75 and over 65 kept checking the page “See if you may be Eligible to Receive the COVID-19 Vaccine” https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ and seeing “No Appointments Available Currently.” 

In the meantime, I also became eligible but didn’t even try the website because of what my Albany County relatives were reporting. Other relatives in Indiana have already had their second Moderna shot.

We had all filled out the “Albany County Covid-19 Vaccine Pre-Registration" https://alb.518c19.com/  It’s not clear to me if it served a purpose to do so, as we’d never gotten any notification thereafter.

Friends of mine who were able to schedule appointments told me that the “No Appointments Available Currently” message at https://am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ should just be ignored. Click “Get Started” at the bottom of that page anyway.

After proceeding through two pages entering in some personal information, one reaches a page headed “Locate Providers.” Again, one sees a message “Status: No Appointments Available Currently.”  Though it’s counterintuitive, ignore that also and click “Schedule your vaccine appointment” anyway.

A new tab or window will open for scheduling. If that new page also says there’s nothing available, or if it asks you to pick a time on a specific day but there’s no actual time displayed to select, then close that tab or window and click “Schedule your vaccine appointment” on the “Locate Providers” page again.  You don’t need to click the “Update” button there to refresh the page.

If the new scheduling page does show both a day and one or more times, you should select the button next to it immediately, as somebody else might be seeing that same option at the same time and click it before you do.

If there are multiple choices you might have better luck picking one of the days and times further down.  If you don’t succeed, click “Schedule your vaccine appointment” on the “Locate Providers” page again.  It seems that every few minutes, even every few seconds, the results are different — so just be persistent.

Two of us were able to schedule appointments in March in Albany and in Utica that way. I figured the drive might help with the winter/pandemic cooped-up feeling and I saw that Utica has an impressive park system https://www.uticaolmstedparks.org/.

Another was able to register with CVS in Schenectady, and I was told that it involved ignoring a message from CVS about nothing being available as well but I haven’t looked at that site to confirm the similarity of the process.

Seemingly it would be better if the system made no claims whatsoever about appointment availability?

Christopher K. Philippo


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