After an effort over several weeks last year to help book coronavirus vaccination appointments for his Grandparents, Benjamin Kagan, a 9th grader at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago founded ChicagoVaccineHunters.com. The website now has a waitlist of 250 people asking for his help. “The vaccination system is just so complicated,” Kagan said. “If you don’t understand the technology, you are just going to lose out and not be vaccinated. And that’s difficult. People were sending me private messages saying ‘Benjamin, I can’t figure this out — can you book it for me?’”
Kagan realized many elderly people, his grandparents included, were not familiar with the “refresh” button on an internet web page, which allows the browser to reload online content for new updates. “Plus, every country, state, even pharmacy has its own online maze,” Kagan says. Kagan first joined the “Chicago Vaccine Hunters Facebook group, but was inspired to create his own group called “Chicago Vaccine Angels,” where he and a team of 50 volunteers respond to a Google form to assist a growing list of senior citizens who are asking for help.
Thousands of people have joined the group on Facebook where members share information with one another about where they might be able to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in Chicago using leftover doses that presumably would have to be otherwise discarded.