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'Vaccine Angels'; Volunteers Organize Facebook Group To Help Navigate Overwhelming COVID Vaccine Booking Process

NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) -- As many people have experienced, trying to find a COVID vaccination appointment can be a daunting task, especially for seniors.

Now, so-called "vaccine angels" are taking it upon themselves to help, CBS2's Meg Baker reported Friday.

Seth Oclatis spent days trying to find a vaccination appointment for his father-in-law, but to no avail.

"A lot of these sites release appointments and they get scooped up in five minutes," said Oclatis.

Then, he found a Facebook group called "New Jersey COVID Vaccine Info." It was a group created by regular folks to help others navigate the daunting booking process.

That's how Oclatis connected with who he called a "vaccine angel," a volunteer who secured an appointment for his father-in-law.

Watch Gov. Murphy's COVID-19 Update --

"I am so grateful that there are these individuals who are really just doing this out of the kindness of their heart for strangers. They have no incentive to do this," Oclatis said.

"In just two and a half weeks, as of late last night, I booked 88 appointments," said Jennifer Volosin, a volunteer from Emerson, New Jersey.

Volosin, a special education teacher, spends countless hours helping people find appointments. She sets alarms for odd hours as a reminder to check for appointments that might've popped-up.

"I knew how important this vaccine is to so many different people. So, I figured why not use my time wisely and put my tech skills to good use," Volosin said.


The group uses crowdsourced information, organized by county, to direct people.

"If somebody is looking in a certain area, we could be like, 'Hey, did you check this link or that link?' Or, 'We're pretty sure this site is going to go live for appointments at 5 p.m.,'" said Sandy Thompson, a group moderator.

"Maybe you're not up at 2:00 in the morning, looking for a CVS appointment, or at midnight hoping that Rite Aid drops some information in," said Christine Shenkman, another moderator.


You can join the group and set notifications for this information.

The creators estimate they have helped more than 10,000 people find appointments.

CBS2's Meg Baker contributed to this report.

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