Appointment angel: Pelham resident Caitlin Mattina helps people sign up for vaccinations

Caitlin Mattina helps people get vaccination appointments.

Caitlin Mattina decided to start helping eligible individuals get vaccinated after trying to get an appointment for her dad in January.

As she sought a date for her father, the New York State website was crashing from the volume of individuals trying to access it. She said she had to “run multiple windows in multiple browsers on constant refresh for a number of hours in order to book a single appointment.” Mattina decided the booking system was not designed to make it easy for someone to secure an appointment and spent time figuring out how the site worked. She figured out the pattern for when appointments were released and how to book them quickly.

Mattina reached out on the Moms of Pelham and Women for an Inclusive Pelham Facebook groups and offered help booking appointments. Around the same time, she also joined the Facebook group New York Covid-19 Vaccination Info and contacted the group’s admin Lisa Meyers to help volunteer. She joined a group of 30 doing the same thing as she was.

By the time eligibility opened up for the next phase on Feb. 15, she said she was “booking a large volume of appointments per day, a combination of personal requests from family/friends and Pelham residents, as well as for lists of complete strangers who had reached out to the New York Covid-19 Vaccination Info group for assistance.”

Mattina has been making appointments for three months. She doesn’t keep track of the number of appointments she has made, but if she had to guess she estimated she directly scheduled at least a few hundred. The volunteer group has altogether set up over 6,500 appointments across the state.

Mattina said that it has been a pleasure to help so many people, whether by booking appointments directly or sharing information about where or when vaccines will be available.

“This entire process has been overly complicated for everyone, and I’m happy to do whatever I can to make the process easier to get more shots into more arms and get us on track to ending this pandemic,” Mattina said. It was particularly heartwarming for her to help the elderly and vulnerable populations through this process, people who otherwise would have been left behind by a broken system.

The volunteers have a team of tech savvy individuals who are ready and able to book many appointments with a very quick turnaround. Here are the contacts:

Mattina said she that as more vaccine doses become available, it will be easier for individuals to book appointments for themselves.  In the meantime, volunteers are available to help individuals get an appointment.