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© Reuters. Carrie Driscoll, a communications consultant who lost her job during the pandemic, uses her free time to help people secure COVID-19 vaccine appointments in Manhattan, New York

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By Dan Fastenberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York communications consultant who lost her job during the pandemic has used her free time to help people secure COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

Carrie Driscoll’s efforts started when her mother in Florida struggled to sign up for her appointment. So 42-year-old Driscoll put her research skills to work from her apartment in the Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea.

She spent a week familiarizing herself with the appointment sites, focusing on the fastest way to book an appointment when slots became available.

“A lot of the fields that you enter are not required so you can skip them and finish a lot faster than other people and get that appointment,” she said. After helping her mother and her network of friends she began branching out. “I saw a news story about a gentleman who needed help. And I thought, why not?'”

The beneficiaries of her vaccine activism include New Yorkers over 100 years old, those who recently had surgery and Haitian migrants who struggle with the English language, she said.

Marie Deolall, a 52-year-old home health aide in New York, said she had been unable to find an appointment. After Driscoll saw Deolall appear on a local news channel, Driscoll called her up, said Deolall.

“She took my name, my age, and then, boom, everything was settled. I was very, very happy.”

Around 37 million people, or 11% of the population, had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of Sunday in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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