Finding that unicorn appointment
Author’s Note: This article has information specifically about finding vaccination schedules in Maryland and Washington, DC. However, towards the bottom, I list universal sites, tips, and tricks that can help you find a vaccination appointment no matter where you live. Happy hunting!
Did you know that Maryland and Virginia do not have residency requirements to book a COVID vaccine appointment? I didn’t know that until I helped a friend from Washington, DC schedule an appointment. She had specific requirements: it needed to be Pfizer and it had to be somewhere close enough to take Metro and/or Uber. So what’s a person to do to find this unicorn appointment?
You can check here to see if your state has residency requirements.
In the last 24 hours, I learned a lot about trying to grab appointments for anyone, but especially the elusive unicorn of something local and giving out the vaccine she needed.
I learned that there are plenty of appointments if I wanted to make the trek to the Mass Vaccination Site in Wicomico County and that wouldn’t work. I also learned that DC residents were driving as far as North Carolina to get an appointment, which wouldn’t work for her since she didn’t drive, and to Uber to North Carolina would cost a small fortune.
Maryland and DC have just opened up their vaccination appointments to all residents 16 and older several weeks earlier than expected. Personally, after trying to find a DC resident an appointment, I will say that the Maryland Mass Vaccination registration process is a lot smoother and more user-friendly. I was relieved to find out that Maryland and Virginia do not have residency requirements which opened up more possibilities to secure an appointment.
When you preregister in Maryland for a Mass Vaccination Site, there is a section where you can let them know that you are making an appointment for someone else. This is incredibly helpful when you are pre-registering for a family member or a friend. I didn’t see the same section for when I tried to pre-register for the Mass Vaccination sites in Washington, DC.
Here is the information you need for Maryland:
- Date of Birth (DOB)
- Phone number
- Email address
You can pre-register for Washington, DC here. The information you need:
- Date of Birth (DOB)
- Phone number
- Email address
- Home address
While there is no residency requirement for all of Maryland, the Greenbelt Mass vaccination site specifically says that it’s open to all DC residents, too.
Here are the easiest sites that I’ve found to be easy when scheduling a vaccine:
- Giant (and you can look at this list and it will tell you which vaccine you will likely receive at that pharmacy. But you should always call and check to make sure. As of right now, the Johnson and Johnson vaccine has been pulled from vaccination sites. If you’re like me, and already received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, do not stress. If you notice that anything off, call your doctor.). If you max out on the number of zip codes you try, it takes about an hour before it will reset and let you look again.
- CVS will show you the pharmacies by state/district. When you click on your state, a list of vaccination sites by city pops up and you will easily see if it’s fully booked or available. Pro-tip: I found that the appointment scheduler opened around 6am. They go fast. Be ready to go with the info and you’ll have about 15 minutes to schedule your appointment.
- Albertsons will give you a list of appointments available at Safeway. You type in your zip code and you can look anywhere from 5 miles to 50 miles of your desired location.
- VaccineFinder is easy to use. You can search by vaccine and by zip code. It will give you a list of pharmacies that have vaccines in stock. And then you can click on each one to see if they have any appointments available. It provides a list of several different pharmacies so you can go where it’s best for you.
- GoodRx is another great site that lists pharmacies that have available vaccines by zip code. It will take you to a scheduling link if there is an available vaccin
- ZocDoc is another site that will let you search by state. It will take you through a list of questions and help you find available vaccination sites.
- Have your information ready
- You have about 15 minutes to secure an appointment. I found that if I had the information ready to go, it didn’t take me that long to schedule an appointment.
- The Maryland Vaccine Hunters Facebook Page is the best place to ask questions, get advice, find available appointments. I have referred to this site numerous times to get information about sites and general questions.
- Don’t get discouraged
- Be patient.
- If you can take a couple of hours to search all the sites. The easiest thing to do is pre-register with your state’s or district’s Mass Vaccination Site and then they’ll contact you. But if you want to be proactive, try the sites that I have listed. I have been able to find appointments for people by utilizing the list.
- I’ve had the most luck using Giant and CVS sites. The appointments get fast, but they are pretty easy to navigate.
Good Luck and may the odds be ever in your favor.
Have a tip, trick, or question to share with me? Drop me a comment! Thanks for reading.