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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Woman offers 5 tips to help you find a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Iowa

Brooke Johnson of West Des Moines took it upon herself to find appointments for Iowans in need. She gave Local 5 her tips on how she was able to help those folks.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — With no centralized system to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment in Iowa, it's up to each county in Iowa to decide how to move forward and administer the vaccine. 

But some Iowans are stepping in to fill the void. 

One West Des Moines woman is navigating the confusing and hard to come by COVID-19 vaccine appointments for older Iowans.

Brooke Johnson made it her mission to help those in an effort to save lives.

“I was just thinking along the lines of my own grandparents and that it was almost impossible for them to navigate online scheduling," explained Johnson. "So, what I did was help kind of narrow it down with my website.”

Johnson's website helped Iowans breakdown each pharmacy with their requirements in a condensed one page.

Johnson, so far, has helped 85 Iowans get a vaccine appointment.

Two of those people are Sarah Dolphin's parents.

RELATED: VERIFY: Answering questions about the vaccine, county health departments and local pharmacies

“I had done things like check on all the websites and sign up for communication-related to get a vaccine and it was crickets! I didn’t hear anything until I started seeing the information come from Brooke," said Dolphin.

Johnson said she found a sense of purpose in helping others. 

"It’s just been really rewarding to see people actually be able to take some action based on something that takes me a couple [of] minutes to display,” she said. 

Here are five tips to be successful at making vaccine appointments:

  1. Make sure you know where you are eligible! (HyVee, some doctors offices/hospitals currently vaccinating teachers, while Walgreens and CVS are only prioritizing 65+)
  2. If you are scheduling for someone else, have all their current information in front of you, including address, DOB, phone, email and in some cases their Medicare or insurance information.
  3. Keep a running list of friends and family who are eligible so when appointments become available, you can make it for them or notify them to hop online and schedule.
  4. Schedule the first and second dose appointments at the same time when possible so you can avoid running into issues where it’s hard to get the second dose scheduled.
  5. Just keep checking back throughout the day, there doesn’t appear to be any pattern of timing for most websites, it’s mostly luck. 

You can follow Johnson's Twitter/Instagram for updates.

Download the We Are Iowa app or subscribe to Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter for the latest on vaccine administration in Iowa.