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Facebook group connects those eligible to vaccine availabilities

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The "Milwaukee & WI Area Vaccine Hunters and Angels" Facebook group is connecting people with vaccine availabilities and resources across Wisconsin. Group members and moderators post tips about where and how to find the vaccine.

Bob Orech started the group after getting his parents vaccinated with the help of a similar group in Chicago. He saw a need for it in Wisconsin.

"I was like, I can do this. Let's see if it can help. And it caught on," Orech said.

He says the group has helped 2,000 people across the states either receive the vaccine or secure appointments.

"What started off as people coming there to, you know, find a vaccine for themselves or get scheduled for themselves, now they're there to pay it forward and help someone else," he said.

Sue Adams is a 40-year Madison resident and a group moderator. She says it's important to get groups vaccinated, but the process is complicated.

"It's important to be able to assist others who haven't been able to make it through on their own," Adams said.

Holly Goshin is the mother of a U.W.-Madison freshman, Emma, who recently became eligible. Based in New Jersey, Goshin joined the group to help get her daughter vaccinated from afar. She says the group is a "silver lining of the pandemic."

"The admin of that group was particularly helpful when I reached out as a direct message to say, this is so new to us. I'm here, she's there. I'd like to help, how can I help," Goshin said.

She received a message from Orech just 12 hours after connecting. He told her to check the Walgreens website, and she jumped at the opportunity.

"Because of the message I got directly, there were tons of open appointments, and probably they disappeared fast," Goshin said. "I got one instantly for her."

Orech says the group's goal is to eventually be put out of business.

"That means we are really passing that point of winning against this illness, and, more importantly, getting the vaccines in people's arms," Orech said.

He says for those struggling to get a vaccine appointment, they should join the group, be patient and look out for new information. Orech says the time to ask for vaccine help is now because you're not only helping yourself but the community as well.

"This is probably one of the greatest things I've ever been part of," Orech said.

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Rupa Palla

Reporter WKOW

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