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These good Samaritans are giving seniors their best shot!
Tech-savvy angels are helping elderly New York City residents book online appointments for the COVID-19 vaccination, a free service that gives older folks peace of mind and the boost they need.
Upper West Side resident Jeremy Novich, 35, a clinical psychologist, founded the Vaccine Appointment Assistance team Jan. 12 with good friends Justin Spiro, a school social worker and Jason Lowe, an attorney.
“We’ve been inundated,” Novich, who is looking to expand his team of 25 volunteers, told The Post on Thursday.
To date, the team has received over 470 online submissions and over 70 voicemails from seniors looking for a hand. The team has helped more than 100 people, Novich said.
The idea is to give seniors a fair shake to get their shot amid the first-come, first-served online COVID-19 cattle call.
“What makes it difficult is that the appointments populate on different websites at different times,” Novich said. “What’s more important — there are not enough appointments for people who want them. So it becomes a race of who can type and click the fastest and that is not fair to older adults,” he added.
Novich told The Post he had his “ear to the ground” on the vaccine rollout and was able to secure appointments for his appreciative 76-year-old dad, Ira, as well as his aunt and uncle.
He decided to keep it going.
“I didn’t have any doubt in my mind that appointments would go very quickly. Especially as soon as they opened up eligibility to more people,” Novich said. “I also had an awareness that the people who were going to have the most difficulty navigating the online environment and are going to struggle to make appointments are older adults who need the vaccine most urgently.”
Novich said the free service to “our more experienced generation” will hopefully be a panacea for pandemic stress.
“We can’t create a vaccine but we can reach out to people, that they are not going to be ignored, they are not going to be forgotten about. We are going to advocate for them,” he said.
“All I can say is these people are tremendous heroes,” gushed Harlem’s Thea Cohen, 77, who thought she had registered online Jan. 11 for a Jan. 18 shot, but was “extremely upset” when she was turned away after being informed she had not properly registered. Novich got on the case and a day later landed Cohen a Feb. 1 slot — pending vaccine availability.
Seniors on Friday blasted the registration system to The Post.
Novich said he is pausing the online request form for now “as we update our systems.” However, seniors looking for assistance and tech-savvy individuals looking to volunteer can call 501-510-0251 or email [email protected]
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