AKRON, Ohio — Many across the state have found it challenging to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine online, especially for those who are not "computer savvy."
Kim Bertele noticed how hard it was to find an available appointment time and knew others were having this issue.
"You’ve got 60- (to) 70-year-old people who can use a cell phone to make a phone call, but you expect them to understand that you have to constantly refresh, you have to have special extensions on your computer and you have to have 50 tabs lined up?" Bertele said. "They aren’t going to know that.”
She took time to research and learn the tricks to getting an appointment and has now mastered the process.
“Stores will do what they call a "drop." That’s where they drop all of their available appointments for that day,” Bertele explained. “It’s basically how you would think of Black Friday, when they have "X" amount of TV's and whoever gets there first gets them."
She posted on Facebook and offered to help complete strangers get signed up for the vaccine. In just a week's time, she had scheduled well over 100 people for the shot in northeast Ohio.
Bertele explained that the vaccine drops typically happen late at night.
"Unfortunately, nobody is awake at these times and they don’t really tell you when the drop is coming," Bertele said. "The more you do it and the more people you follow who do it, you can have an idea of when they’re coming and get prepared for them.”
Despite the sleepless nights, Bertele said she wouldn't have it any other way.
"It’s important that we all step up, if it is something we can actually do," she said. “I couldn’t put a time on it, but I will put in as many hours as needed to get it done, until we all get through this."
She helps around 25 people get signed up each day and has the process down to a science.
“I’ve kind of given like a form to give out so I can copy and paste their answers to my list," Bertele explained. "Then with my list, I can copy and paste their answers to the online scheduler.”
Bertele said she does this all free of charge out of the goodness of her own heart because she enjoys helping her community.
“For me seeing the comments of how grateful they are and now soon they will be able to see someone — the burden that was lifted — because we are already dealing with enough as it is," she said.
Right now, Bertele is focusing on those who are 50 and older and those with health or occupational needs for the vaccine.