A group of tech-savvy Jews have banded together to help senior New York City citizens secure their Covid-19 vaccine appointments. The Vaccine Appointment Assistance Team (VAAT) was founded last Tuesday, January 12, by Jeremy Novich, an Orthodox Jew and clinical psychologist from the Upper West Side, and his associates Jason Lowe and Justin Spiro.
“I have an older friend who has several underlying conditions and an elderly father, and I took over for all of them and made them appointments, successfully, [and then I started helping others],” Novich told The Jewish Press. “There’s no way they could have done it on their own. Then [my associates said], ‘Why don’t we open this up so we can help more people?’ Because the evidence was pretty clear. This is not like ordering from Amazon. This is way harder.”
He points out there are various websites and providers a person can choose from, and their systems are all very different. Additionally, due to the high demand, available vaccination appointments disappear faster than most people can type their name. Inevitably, the most vulnerable people tend to be the least capable of navigating the system.
When seniors call in to VAAT, they are matched to a volunteer who acts as their personal navigator. Since its founding last Tuesday, VAAT has handled more than 100 inquiries, Novich said.
VAAT is currently looking for more tech-savvy people who are “fast-typing and quick-clicking to help gather necessary information from the seniors and book appointments.”
For more information on receiving help from VAAT or volunteering for the organization, call 501-510-0251 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.