After seeing how frustrating and time-consuming the process of scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment was for her and her family, Selina Herrera decided she had to do something about it and help those who needed it.
Days after going through her own appointment process, the McAllen resident started receiving calls from other family members and friends who were also struggling to find a vaccine appointment.
In early March, the number of people who needed this help continued to expand, so she decided to create a Google Document that she shared on social media where those interested in receiving the vaccine could register so she could find them an appointment that was accessible for them and register them. As of Tuesday evening, almost 700 people have had their vaccine appointment thanks to her at no cost.
“It was just from personal experience, from myself and my family. We were having trouble getting a vaccine,” she said.
“You know where they have those events that you have to go in person, make a line, wait all day and we didn’t have the opportunity to just leave work and spend all that time. Just to be turned away and be told to come back the next time.”
The Google Document Herrera created is both in English and Spanish and she hopes it helps the elderly and those who really need it to get a vaccine. With a full-time job, Herrera mostly finds the time to work on this in the middle of the night and during weekends. She said she is not asking for anything because she knows how important it is to get vaccinated.
“I’m not asking for anything because I know how hard it is to get an appointment,” she said.”It is important that we get vaccinated and for every person that gets vaccinated that’s one less appointment that needs to be made. Go do your part, it’s not as scary as people make it out to be.”
Herrera has made appointments for residents from all over the Valley such as Harlingen, Brownsville, and McAllen and has even received requests from other people who reside in bigger cities such as San Antonio and Houston who are also having a hard time making an appointment. She said she has noticed there has been a disadvantage for those with no internet access at home or those who are undocumented.
“ Another barrier, it was kind of a gray area, when they were announcing who was eligible in phases. For undocumented people, it wasn’t really clear if they could still qualify,” she said.
“ When I would get a request, people would ask me ‘hey, I don’t have a Texas ID’ or ‘ hey, I don’t have a State ID. Would I still be able to get it?’ So that’s another barrier, the required documentation. It just wasn’t clear that that wouldn’t matter.”