‘Vaccine Hunters' Share Advice On Best Ways To Find A Shot

All Texans over age 16 will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine starting March 29

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A busy mom to four boys, Mallory Young spends her days working from home and at night helps people find vaccines.

Together with two volunteers from First United Methodist Church The Colony, they've secured 150 vaccine appointments.

"Very quickly we realized how hard it is to get a vaccine appointment," Young said.

Armed with laptops, cell phones and iPads, the team has navigated the ever-changing process surrounding the vaccine rollout.

Starting March 29th, DSHS says any Texan over age 16 will be eligible for a vaccine.

NBC 5 asked Young for her advice on how to secure a shot.

Register With County Hubs

Young advises everyone to register with any county hub they are willing to drive to but don't stop there.

"Get on the county list, but don't wait on the county," Young said.

Places like Dallas County are prioritizing vaccines based on priority zip codes. However, you may have better luck in more rural areas like Navarro County or in East Texas which has seen a high number of residents from DFW drive there for the vaccine.

Check Pharmacy Websites Frequently

As more pharmacies receive more vaccines, they're posting more appointments online, said Young. She suggests writing down a list of nearby zip codes and using them to check which locations in your area have vaccines on the pharmacy website.

Young said she and her fellow volunteers have had success checking CVS's website at 5 a.m. every morning.

"We check it every single morning," said Young. "Amy, Martha and I are setting our alarms and we check [the website] and if [appointments are] not up we go back to sleep and if it's up we stay up and get appointments."

Register With Hospital Systems

While some North Texas hospitals pull names off the county waitlists, others have their own process. Be prepared to register with a hospital's "My Chart" system or if you've visited a hospital recently you may already have an account.

Several hospitals are receiving a large number of doses and send out emails to book appointments weekly.

Join DFW COVID Vaccine Finder on Facebook

Young said the local Facebook group "DFW Covid Vaccine Finder" helped her in her initial search for providers. It provides a platform for people to share real-time info about where they found vaccines.

Jon Battle is one of the administrators. Now retired, he spends his day moderating the group and trying to organize the most helpful information for users.

"We are like vaccine pioneers," Battle said. "We are doing this at a time when the system was really not ready for anybody."

Check Surplus or Waste Lists

One of the most popular discussions on the DFW Covid Vaccine Finder page involves what's become known as 'waste lists.' These are providers willing to give unused shots at the end of the day to anyone, regardless of priority group and no appointment necessary.

The major pharmacies do not advertise this process, so most people have found them by calling individual pharmacies or through word of mouth.

Sanjiv Sinha found vaccines for his family this way.

He and his wife drove from Allen to a Walmart in Corsicana to receive their shots after getting on a waste list.

"I didn't even know there was such a thing as a waste list until my sister-in-law found out about it," said Sinha.

Sinha said they made it clear to the employee they did not currently qualify for a vaccine, but the pharmacist told them that was fine, otherwise, the shot would expire.

"But yeah, it works. You just have to be a little patient and call around," Sinha said.

Volunteer at Vaccine Sites

Another way to receive a vaccine is to volunteer at one of the public vaccination sites. Both Denton County and Dallas County are currently looking for volunteers and Dallas County offers the vaccine to volunteers who complete 15 hours of service.

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