Local doctors become 'vaccine ninjas,' using social media to share appointment tips

Mar 13, 2021

A group of local female physicians are banding together to help Western New Yorkers navigate the often frustrating process of securing a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. 

Credit Screen capture / YouTube

Dr. Jennifer Walsh is one of the eight female doctors known as the “vaccine ninjas” who are using social media groups, posts, and videos to dish out the tips and tricks that have made it possible for about 4,000 people in the region to get their vaccine.

Walsh said the undertaking started after seeing frustrations from their own family and friends. 

“We’ve been working pretty tirelessly over the past six to seven weeks to help people get appointments, mostly people who are older, maybe not have easy internet access, and that sort of thing,” said Walsh. “We were doing really well with it, and in the last several days we've just gotten so many requests that we couldn't keep up with it. So I decided that maybe we needed to teach people what we were doing.” 


Walsh went on YouTube and recorded a four minute video detailing ways you can best navigate both the state’s online COVID-19 portal, and various private sites.


The ‘no appointments available’ popup is a common sight for those trying to register on the state’s website. But Walsh said you shouldn’t give up right there.


“What people don't realize is that you can continue to refresh that page, particularly at the top and the bottom of the hour, which is when they seem to resupply the appointments, either from cancellations or more availability of vaccine,” she said. “If you refresh and refresh and refresh, those appointments pop up and you can get them.” 


Walsh said while there are certainly issues in regards to vaccine supply and demand, learning some of the nuances of the sometimes frustrating process of scheduling an appointment can make the process a bit more smooth