Need Help Signing Up for a Vaccine? A Young Tech-Savvy Person Can Help You


Photo by Hillary.

The city and state’s vaccine websites can be difficult to use, and they’re particularly tricky for people who didn’t grow up in a 24-7 plugged-in culture. Yes we’re talking about old(er) people.

So an Upper West Sider joined with two friends to create a service where people who are comfortable navigating the web will help those who might have difficulties. They’re called the Vaccine Appointment Assistance Team (VAAT), and they will sign up for you while you’re on the phone with them.

One of them is Jeremy Novich, an Upper West Side psychologist. Dr. Novich told us he signed up his family members and friends for vaccines early on, and found the process to be oddly glitchy for something that should be designed to serve people who may not be tech-savvy. “The appointments disappear faster than you can type in your info,” he said in an interview. “They’ve been left helpless, totally helpless. And they’re the ones who need the vaccine the most.”

So he and two colleagues — Jason Lowe and Justin Spiro — decided to help out by offering their services to others. VAAT is open to anyone from New York City, and they’ll talk you through the process over the phone. Micah Bloomfield, the president of Ohav Sholom on 84th Street, used VAAT and vouched for it. He said he had struggled to get an appointment, but Dr. Novich walked him through the process and got both him and his wife signed up.

To sign up for help, you can fill out this form online or call 501-510-0251 and leave a message and they’ll get back to you.

To volunteer to help other people, email them at vaccineassistance@gmail.com.

The city does have a phone number to help people sign up, but it’s only for city vaccine sites (there are also state sites, drugstores and urgent care centers that are giving out the vaccine). The city vaccine help number is 877-829-4692.

NEWS | 8 comments | permalink
    1. Nelson says:

      Great post. Thank you WSR for helping folks out in this confusing time.

    2. Bob Lamm says:

      How wonderful that they are offering this assistance.

    3. Kathleen says:

      So much generosity in this city. Thank you for your kindness.

    4. N says:

      I’m both a senior and tech-savvy. Still, it seems to be the supply that keeps me from getting an appointment so which would I sign up for.. how could I help if I can’t find a spot for myself?

    5. No appointments available says:

      Lovely idea and very generous, thank you! I am young-ish and tech savy and yet have not been able to get an appointment for my elderly parents. There are just no openings within a 50 mile radius. Not sure how you would be able to do something that I cannot but I commend your efforts. Maybe when more vaccines are available some appointments will open up.

    6. Bonnie says:

      The Department of Health works in Chrome. I found that a simple way to navigate the vagaries of the site was to switch to Crome as my browser for that task.

      • Boris says:

        It works in several other browsers. One’s choice of browser isn’t the issue with getting an appointment.

    7. mary ann waygan says:

      thank you… I thought if I could shop online I could navigate the city’s scheduling … wow that was a mistake…so any help is really appreciated