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Sioux Falls resident helps others make COVID-19 vaccine appointments

He has helped 60 people either get or schedule COVID-19 vaccines.
He has helped 60 people either get or schedule COVID-19 vaccines.(Dakota News Now)
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Nearly a quarter-million more South Dakotans just became eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as the state opened distribution to group 1E this week.

There are several options for people to get their vaccines, from hospitals to several different pharmacy markets. Each one has its own website to sign up.

Many are finding that getting a vaccine appointment can be a challenge.

One Sioux Falls man has been helping others navigate their way through making appointments.

“I noticed every single website was completely different,” said Mitchell Olson.

After seeing people mention not being able to book appointments for the COVID vaccine Olson wanted to help.

So, he looked at the different websites used to schedule appointments and began posting to his Facebook which locations had available vaccines.

“I thought I had to wait for Sanford or Avera to give me the call and say, ‘Hey your turn is up,” said Terri Dumont. “Once he started posting we could get the vaccine by calling these places or going online.”

A common problem people were running into was the lack of vaccination appointments available online.

“We started quite a while ago to look into it and see how easy it was going to be and then it wasn’t easy at all,” said Rhonda Gross of Brandon. “Get on the computer and get to the site and it would have no openings, or it wouldn’t have any information, I even called the state to get some help from them and they told me what I was doing was all I could do.”

For those struggling to find appointments, the best method is to keep checking the websites.

While some sites may say there are no appointments available for the month, that will change as pharmacies and health centers get more vaccine shipments in.

Despite the strict eligibility rules on the websites, Olson suggests signing up anyway.

“If you have a question, get to the point where you can book your appointment on the website, lock in an appointment, come to your appointment if you have questions about it ask them then,” said Olson. “If you think you clicked the wrong thing or whatever the case may be, they will fix it or figure it out at the appointment, they just want people to get there and get their vaccination, that’s the most important thing.”

Olson has already helped 40 people get their vaccinations and another 20 in setting up their appointments.

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