Florida Couple Starts Facebook Group to Help Seniors Get COVID-19 Vaccinations
So far, they’ve helped more than 2,000 seniors get vaccinated.
A South Florida couple is working overtime to help their elderly neighbors sign up for COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
Katherine Quirk and her fiancé Russ Schwartz launched the South Florida COVID-19 Vaccination Info group on Facebook after realizing that seniors were likely to find the state's online appointment system confusing amid the vaccine's chaotic rollout.
"Knowing that seniors were the first group it was going to roll out to, we started to think about the challenges that they might face trying to navigate how all of the information would come through," said Quirk, a pediatric hematology and oncology nurse, told Good Morning America. "We knew that maybe they used Facebook but maybe they don't use Twitter or maybe they're not ready to open multiple browsers to try and get an appointment or hit redial on the phone over and over again until they get through."
Five weeks later, their Facebook group has nearly 24,000 members. Even with the help of 120 volunteers, the Facebook group has become a second, full-time job for Quirk and Schwartz, an elementary school principal in Broward County.
The group is updated almost constantly with information about who is eligible, where vaccinations are being offered, and when exactly to call or log in to book an appointment.
Quirk told Southern Living that the South Florida COVID-19 Vaccination Info Facebook group has helped at least 2,000 seniors get vaccinated since January 1.
Volunteers also work one-on-one to assist those who are unable to book appointments themselves. The group created a Google form for those who are interested in securing the service for a loved one. Volunteers can then call on the seniors' behalf or log in online to book appointments for them.
"We really have seen the goodness of people in our group," Quirk told Yahoo News. "We have seen people that have come together and want to help and want to give back. They want their neighbor to get an appointment. And really just a level of kindness that is so refreshing to see and be a part of."