When it came time to register her family for the COVID-19 vaccine, Selena Herrera, a 26-year-old Texan Latina took it upon herself to get her relatives registered because she was the tech savvy one in her family. She soon realized if her own family was having issues finding appointments, other native Spanish speakers, the elderly or people with disabilities, probably had more obstacles to book their vaccine appointments, despite being amongst the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
“There are just so many barriers, and this is the solution I had,” Herrera said to NBC News. “I could offer this.”
Armed with her phone and a Google spreadsheet form she created a month ago with contact information, some medical background, and distance they are willing to go for the vaccine, she books vaccine appointments for anyone who needs help; she does so in the evenings or weekends after work, or during her lunch hour.
The form, which initially was just shared within the community Herrera knows, started to be filled out by community members for their relatives who were having issues. Herrera set out to ensure those she didn’t know felt safe filling out the form. She offered a small bio so that those signing up, who don’t personally know her, were reassured in who they are trusting with their information.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to catch these appointments for them, and I just have to thank my really fast thumbs and super speed internet, which I know many people may not have,” she said.
Personally, Herrera claims to have “lost count” after registering over 440 people (it’s well over 600 now), and though she doesn’t see this happening for the rest of 2021, she will continue to register people as long as she is able to.
“For every person I’m helping, that’s one less person that’s reaching out or that needs to be vaccinated,” she said.