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Online Tool Helps Find COVID Vaccinations

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A resource locator helps link users to local sites for information and appointments for COVID vaccines. (Halfpoint/Adobe Stock)
A resource locator helps link users to local sites for information and appointments for COVID vaccines. (Halfpoint/Adobe Stock)
 By Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY - Producer, Contact
March 2, 2021

NEW YORK -- With COVID vaccines becoming more widely available, many more people are searching for the earliest possible appointment to get vaccinated, and there's a tool to help them find it.

The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Locator is an online tool to help anyone link to public vaccination resources available through both state and local health departments and retail pharmacies by ZIP code.

Dr. Donald Stangler, Senior Medical Director for the Northeast Region at United HealthCare, said the information on the free website is updated twice a day and available in both English and Spanish for anyone to use.

"This is a rapidly evolving science," Stangler explained. "It's really important to understand what the criteria are, whether you are a candidate to be vaccinated, where to go and how to set up an appointment."

So far, more than 100,000 people have used the vaccine resource tool.

Finding the nearest location can do more than save time.

Anne Barschall, an attorney and cancer patient from Tarrytown, N.Y., who became eligible to get vaccinated last month, said the earliest appointment she could find was a six-hour drive away.

"I took an appointment on the 16th and I drove up there," Barschall recounted. "And it really wasn't that bad on the way up, but on the way back I ended up with a blizzard."

She said the return trip took seven hours and she'll have to go back for the second shot.

With the approval of the Johnson and Johnson one-shot vaccine, there are now three options and a growing supply of vaccinations.

Stangler emphasized knowing when and where they are available is critical to bringing the COVID pandemic crisis under control.

"I think they all provide excellent protection against getting bad complications and being hospitalized so if the opportunity is there, my recommendation is you should jump on it as soon as possible," Stangler advised.

Disclosure: United Healthcare - New York and Northern Pennsylvania contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Mental Health, and Philanthropy. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
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