As confusion grows, volunteers help people navigate public information and stay on top vaccine availability across Canada
As daily COVID-19 cases surge to new highs, people are plain and simply confused when it comes to availability and booking appointments.
More and more people are turning to the Vaccine Hunters Canada to navigate the frustrating rollout and find availability at pharmacies and pop-up clinics closest to them.
The grassroots organization active on social media apps like Twitter and Discord was created Toronto based web developed named Andrew, who asked that we do not publish his last name. He borrowed the premise from U.S. site VaccineHunter.org. Andrew, along with fellow volunteers, surf public health portals, vaccine clinic websites and leads that pop into their DMs and throw their updates on their platforms, which is becoming a destination for your regular dose of vaccine info.
“Provinces do it differently,” says Sabrina Craig, a contributor on the platform. “In B.C., you register for a vaccine and then you’re invited. In Ontario, it’s a blend of different systems with different localities; public health units doing different things.”
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Craig says she spent the morning on the Wal-Mart Canada portal, looking up the vaccine availability at different times and locations. She then posted the availability online while pointing out that the info only applies to people 55 and up, since the info was specific to the AstaZeneca vaccine.
She says the people working behind the scenes at Vaccine Hunters are Canadians who are doing the research when not at their full-time jobs. They just want to help get needles in arms faster and bridge the disconnect between officials and the public.
“Our public health is made up of really talented, really hardworking people,” says Craig. “But sometimes it’s really difficult to make connections with the public.
“As the vaccine rollout continues on, it will be more clear, transparent to users,” she adds. “But for right now during the third wave, we’re doing what we can to help the Canadian population connect and get themselves or their relatives and friends vaccinated.”