A Chicago teen has created a Facebook group dedicated to helping the elderly community sign up for their COVID-19 vaccination.
“Chicago Vaccine Angels” is the new Facebook group created by 14-year-old Benjamin Kagan. The group’s mission is to help facilitate the elderly community with scheduling their Coronavirus vaccines after seeing his grandparents struggle with technology.
“Yeah, so, the process was super complicated, and my grandparents don’t know how to refresh a page. My grandfather doesn’t even own a cell phone. So, for them to try to navigate the system where tons of people were vying for very few slots, I knew that it wasn’t going to work. And, I care about them so much that I needed to make sure they got vaccinated,” said Kagan.
“So, I went in, and I had four computers open, and I- after my third attempt on the county’s website, I got them their shots. Now I’ve helped over, my group’s helped over 425 people get vaccinated in the same fashion,” Kagan said.
Kagan added that because there is a slew of people trying to get vaccines, he and other volunteers open several computers to flood the system. “A bunch of people are always checking different websites and you have to always be looking out for different tips from the larger group, the Chicago Vaccine Hunters,” said Kagan, mentioning that he does the community service effort while doing homework.
The teen says the best advice he would give someone is to be “flexible” when scheduling an appointment. “You have to be flexible. I texted someone this morning, and I said, ‘Hey, I have an appointment for you. It’s in four hours,’ and then two people responded back and said, ‘Yes, we’ll be there.’” Kagan said sometimes a person interested in getting vaccinated might have to travel outside of their community.
Kagan says this mission is important to him because the country can’t “get back to normal” until people are vaccinated. “In addition to that, some of these people have just incredibly heartbreaking stories. You know, I spoke to a woman yesterday who I got vaccinated who said she’d been seeing her grandson for the last year through a glass door. She’d been driving out to him every weekend and seeing him through a glass door, and now that I got her vaccinated, she can go hug her grandson this weekend.”