PORTLAND, Ore. — The vaccine rollout has been anything but simple for many seniors in Oregon. So neighbors are stepping in to help them sign up for appointments.
Timoney Korbar started the group Portland Vaccine Helpers. In just the past two weeks, they've helped around 130 local seniors snag their spot for a shot.
“That confirmation phone call is just beautiful,” Korbar said. "It's sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes there's tears. Sometimes there's praise and thanks. And you can just feel the anxiety being lifted off their shoulders.”
The effort to help get local seniors signed up for vaccinations started with a post on Nextdoor. Korbar offered to help people navigate the complicated system and it took off.
She was inspired by her own mom, who struggled to get her appointment.
“A lot of these seniors have been locked up for the last year and it's almost as if this vaccine is being dangled in front of them, but they can't reach it,” she said. “So, we're just trying to help connect the dots and get people vaccinated.”
About eight neighbors are helping Korbar in her mission. Their goal is to help as many people as they can to "nab that jab."
Korbar said getting an appointment comes down to time, technology and persistence. She still works full-time as a TV producer but uses her free time to sign people up for appointments.
“Morning noon and night. I work my normal day job. On my lunch hour, I’m researching and trying to get our materials together. At night I’m working after work,” Korbar said. “I lay down and I check for appointments and if I find some I get up and make them.”
The group takes a bit of personal information to help seniors sign up, but Korbar reminds everyone, especially seniors, to never give out their Social Security number.
As eligibility expands, she and other volunteers hope to be a resource for even more.
Learn more and get help signing up for your COVID vaccine appointment at portlandvaccinehelpers.org.