Hoosiers turn to COVID-19 vaccine hunters

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — There is a rush of people trying to get doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

An online group called Vaccine Hunters is trying to help match people with appointments.

It’s a group on Facebook where people either post where they are looking for doses or post if they’ve run across any unclaimed vaccine appointments.

The goal is not just to help people get the shots, but also to make sure they don’t go to waste.

The group has people from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan.

“Personally, I didn’t know that half of, probably over half of these resources existed,” said Theresa Benton, who lives just outside of Detroit Michigan.

Benton made a post in the Midwest Vaccine Hunters group to get an appointment for her grandfather, who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

“Within probably 30 minutes or less there were people providing resources, giving me links, giving me explanations,” said Benton. “Telling me to check out different places and different links to get on. So it was super helpful.”

Thanks to the group, Benton was able to make an appointment near where they live.

“It’s such a valuable resource right now that can literally save people’s lives and because it’s such a limited resource, it’s so so so important to get those vaccines into people’s arms.”

The group was created by Joe Pecore who got the idea from others like it.

“After I saw groups starting to pop up on Facebook, I decided to create one too,” Pecore explained.

It’s all to help get vaccines to people who qualify and not go to waste no matter where a person lives.

“I’ve not known anybody to be told they couldn’t be vaccinated, because they have come from another state or another county, but I do believe it’s happened,” said Pecore

About 17,000 out-of-state residents have gotten vaccines in Indiana so far. But state officials say shots in Indiana are meant for Hoosiers or people who work in the Hoosier state.

“We want to ensure that we are reserving our limited doses for the Hoosiers who need it the most. We have reminded the vaccine clinics to verify eligibility before administering a vaccine,” said Dr Lindsay Weaver, the state’s chief medical officer.

When it comes to concerns about doses wasted in Indiana, the state says that number is very small.

Out of 1.3 million doses, only 172 were wasted. We’re told that was mostly because of a broken vial or syringe.

Pecore says the group is all about helping those who need it.

“It makes it far easier to be able to look on a group on Facebook where there is a wealth of information. They don’t have to hunt for it, it’s all right in front of them.”

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