When Susan Way became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, she had a frustrating time trying to find an appointment.
“All the appointments would be booked every time I checked the computer," said Way, who lives in Ashford.
After unsuccessfully trying to book an appointment, Way reached out to a Facebook group for help: New York/Connecticut Vaccine Hunters and Angels.
Caryn Pascale, who lives in Windsor Locks, saw Way's post and was able to find her an appointment.
Way received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine this week.
"I am so very grateful for them," said Way. “They are just doing it to help people."
Pascale is considered a "vaccine angel." Through the Facebook group, she has helped about 100 eligible people find COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
"It makes me so happy that there’s something I can do to help after over a year of just waiting to see what’s going to happen," said Pascale. "It is rewarding."
The Facebook group is public and has 12,000 members. People who are eligible for the vaccine and struggling to find an appointment are able to post asking for help. More times than not, a "vaccine angel" is able to step up and search for an open time slot.
Pascale started by just finding appointments for her immediate family. She then learned little tips and tricks that made navigating different websites easier.
"I guess it is just a lot of patience and having time on my hands," said Pascale.
Rosemary O'Neill was also able to get an appointment this week after posting in the group.
“They are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. It just gives me goosebumps," said O'Neill, who lives in West Hartford.
The Facebook group also helps people who are not yet eligible for the vaccine in Connecticut learn more about finding an excess dose of the vaccine. People share tips and past experiences in hopes of helping others.
“They have someone that makes an appointment and can’t make it and things like that and we don’t want those vaccines to go to waste," explained Pascale.
Pascale is not eligible for the vaccine in Connecticut at this point based on her age. She is living with Cystic Fibrosis and was able to find an excess dose of vaccine.
“I know kind of the desperation that comes with wanting it as soon as possible for your own health and safety. So, I do what I can to help," said Pascale.