The Great Vaccine Hunt: Westchester County, N.Y. Edition
Updated: Jan 22, 2021
By Susan Weill
I’m sure I join millions in saying that I’m tired of wearing a mask, social distancing and being isolated at home, but since I prefer to stay healthy, I’m totally on board with all the necessary precautions. At the same time, I want to have dinner with friends indoors at a restaurant, go back to taking classes at the gym, and really want to get on a plane or cruise ship and go ANYWHERE!
That said, I started hunting for a COVID vaccine appointment as soon as I learned that New York was allowing all seniors (65+) to get the vaccine. As instructed, my first step was the “Am I Eligible” form. I had submitted this form last week, when I wasn’t eligible, and it took a phone call to the state’s COVID-19 Hotline to find out that the form was not retained and did not serve as an application or registration for a vaccine. This time I was able to proceed to a list of providers, sorted by distance from my home, that would be administering vaccines. The top of the list was a Rite Aid just down the street from my apartment, but they weren’t making appointments yet (turns out they didn’t have the vaccine on hand yet).
The next location on the list was the Westchester County Center, which seems to be the main site in the county.When I clicked on the link to get to the next step, though, nothing happened and it timed out. After several more tries, I was beginning to think this wasn't going to work. I then spoke to my brother, who told me that my sister-in-law, a teacher, had gotten through and made an appointment for early February. So I tried again and this time, success! But I had to scroll through the rest of January, all of February and March and into April before finding a day with open slots! And even then there must have been so many people doing the same thing that each time I clicked on a time slot showing availability, it filled up. On the fourth try, I was finally able to nail down an appointment for midday on April 7.
I’m relieved to have the appointment, though I wish it were sooner. I keep checking to see if New York has added any additional locations but rather than new sites, places like the Rite Aid in my neighborhood and a Northwell Health site in nearby New Rochelle (which had been #3 on the initial list) are no longer listed, probably because the vaccine supply is so limited. I also called a local CVS and Walgreens but they aren’t administering vaccines either. I’m just hoping that the supply will increase and all the glitches being reported on the news will be ancient history by April. Counting on you, President Biden!
Susan Weill, a former Time Research Librarian and occasional freelance researcher, is sheltering at home in Westchester.