How Social Media is Helping Pittsburghers Get Vaccinated
Three women started a Facebook group to connect more Pittsburghers to the shots.
As the number of available COVID-19 vaccines slowly increases, finding out where and how to get the shot continues to be as stressful as the virus itself.
Leighann Bacher of Hampton learned firsthand how confusing the system was when she tried to find an appointment for herself and her family members. A physician’s assistant friend, Heather Lucci, had been posting on social media and a comment on one of her posts about Spartan Pharmacy (a pharmacy chain with locations in the South Hills) is how Bacher found an appointment.
Bacher and Lucci continued to trade ideas and eventually connected with Liz Huber, of McCandless, who was also sharing tips about acquiring vaccinations on her Facebook page. The trio started the Facebook group Getting Pittsburgh Vaccinated – COVID Appointment Tip Page.
This Facebook group, which shares tips and resources for finding vaccine appointments, grew to more than 26,000 members in just over a month.
“When we first started this page and realized how quickly it was growing, I put out a call for page administrators to help us. Somehow, we managed to gather some of the most dedicated and compassionate people in the Pittsburgh area. Every day, I’m continually amazed by the work they do.” says Bacher.
With the page’s help, hundreds of people report they’ve been able to get vaccinated.
Bacher has further optimized the page by sorting the posts by topics such as providers, waitlists, success stories and tutorials.
“We have created video tutorials to try to help people with step-by-step instructions, but even still, there are some who will not be able to register online. Luckily, more places are beginning to provide phone numbers for people to contact them and get appointments, or at least get on waiting lists.” Bacher says.
She also shares a collective resource document that the Facebook group administrators have compiled to show where vaccine appointments are becoming available, as well as a printable resource for those who have difficulty navigating online sites.
If you have resources not listed within these documents that you think would be helpful, the group asks that you share them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bacher says the effort has become a very fulfilling experience.
“Every day, I get messages from people who have been helped that bring me to tears. I also get so many messages from people telling me they were inspired to go help other people who couldn’t help themselves to get appointments. I’ve honestly never felt so hopeful in my life. There are so many good people out there, and there is light at the end of this very dark tunnel.”