Every traveler, and almost every person I know, is itching to get a shot of one of the three American-approved COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson). Where you live, what job you have and any health problems you may have, determines when you qualify for the vaccine and how difficult it is to get an appointment.

Friends of mine in Anchorage said it was super easy to get an appointment for any age group over 16 and I have a friend who flew up to Anchorage months ago and walked right into Costco to get his shot.

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I live in California, which has the largest population of any state by far, so trying to make an appointment isn’t easy. A friend told me to try CVS but every time I looked online, nothing was ever available. Then another friend let me in on a little hack. Get up in the middle of the night and try. Sure enough, when I tried at 3:30am local time, dozens of store locations opened up with tons of time slots available.

It looks like CVS is available in 40 of the 50 states so when it’s your turn to get a shot, or if you’re scheduling one for your parents, grandparents or elderly neighbors, try waking up in the middle of the night to check their online scheduling tool.

I also learned that not all CVS stores have COVID-19 vaccines from all three companies so if you do want to pick or choose a brand, find out which CVS carries which, then try and book an appointment there. But of course, there are no guarantees. As one of my doctor friends said, “The best brand of vaccine is the one you can get in your arm.”

Advice From a Doctor
“That works for just about any Vax scheduling system. They’re designed to update overnight so the best way is to try early morning. Also check for open spots on the same day you’re checking. Often afternoon appts will open up so that ‘No Show’ doses aren’t wasted.” Dr. Mom

Colorado Advice
Via Twitter: FYI there is a window – 1:10-2:10 am (MT) in Colorado – in which overnight appointments are added and then website is down for maintenance. Also, protocol is 4 days out – other than Wed 3/31 (Target closed on Easter), this has worked for 2 weeks.

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5 Comments On "The Hack To Getting A COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment"
  1. Truman|

    Another tip: call CVS or Walgreens 1 hour before closing for leftover doses and no-shows. No appointment necessary. Worked for me!

  2. Lisa|

    The CVS hack worked for me too! Thanks for spreading the news!

    1. Johnny Jet|


  3. Tina B|

    I managed to get an appt next day at Dodger Stadium using City of Los Angeles (not County of LA – they are very different) Carbon Health website and app. They seem to add appointments every couple of hours. Never got through on CVS or RiteAid sites. It’s like the Hunger Games. Our public health and California gov’t leaders should be ashamed, they had at least six months to plan. I feel horrible for my fellow humans working at Trader Joe’s and the coffee shop. They are telling me it’s tough to keep trying to book openings on their short work breaks, and many of them are also trying to book their elderly relatives too. Fingers crossed and best wishes to all, April 15 will be even crazier.

  4. Susan|

    I was lucky enough to get vaccinated with a leftover vaccine at the end of a day at a medical site outside Los Angeles. I then became what the call a “Vaccine Angel” and helped my sister and two friends in New Jersey, a friend in West Virginia, and my two children in California get appointments. I have hung up my wings right now. There are a number of websites with suggestions and tricks. Los Angeles https://www.facebook.com/groups/158029339418164/ New Jersey https://www.facebook.com/groups/891546924927251/permalink/918796238868986/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/newjerseycovidvaccinesites
    Hope these help someone!

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