How to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment: A Guide
This information was confirmed as of Sunday, April 11. This is a quickly evolving situation and details will be updated with the latest information as we can get it.
Everyone age 16 and older who wants a COVID-19 vaccine will be able to sign up for one starting Thursday, April 15, and in some places, people already can. Local demand will likely initially be higher than availability, but hopefully it will even out soon. If you want to get an early appointment, consider how far you are willing to travel, when you are available to get it, and whether you care which vaccine you get (more on that later).
If your county is NOT YET open to all, but you want to get your vaccine right now and can travel, you can go to UC Davis (appointment needed) or CSU Bakersfield (for now, they take walk-ins). Many pharmacies between Fresno and Bakersfield have excess vaccines they would love to give you if you can get to them. If you do travel for your first dose, you will likely be able to schedule your second dose locally with CVS, a large medical provider, or a county-run site.
If you are not yet eligible, but want to get ready, you still can:
✅ join regional Facebook groups to see if anyone has created a vaccine appointment notification system. In the San Francisco Bay Area, subscribe to a Telegram app notification about available appointments in the Bay Area created by volunteer developer Mukesh. This channel provides availability information from more than 200 locations in the Bay Area every hour. Instructions to set up notifications (available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog and Portuguese): t.me/bayareavaccinenotification
✅ follow Twitter bots that tweet regional available appointments, like @covidvaccineBA and @covidvaccineLA
✅ Create accounts for the vaccine providers that require it:
➡️Download the Walgreens app, or go to the Walgreens website and create an account — you will need a separate account for each person you want to schedule a vaccine for.
➡️Your local hospitals and medical care systems will likely require you to create a profile for each person whothat needs a vaccine appointment. Create those profiles ahead of time to get ready. Some may ask for a credit card to verify your identity (you will not be charged.)
➡️Request a member number at Kaiser
(800) 464-4000, option 3, 0
and be ready to search on Thursday or call
(866) 454-8855 and get an operator, as early as 6:30 am.
➡️Create an account on Walmart. Walmart seems to make appointments available at midnight daily. If you set your phone’s or computer’s time zone to Eastern Time (east coast), you can see (and book) those appointments at 9:00 pm.
You can also look at:
- CVS (often makes appointments available between midnight and 6:00 am)
- Lucky and Safeway
- -community clinics.
There may be additional providers in your area, so check your regional pharmacies, universities, and other medical care providers.
Scheduling vaccine appointments has been very frustrating for everyone. If you want help, please call 211 for assistance making your appointment. Alternatively, you can reach out to vaccinefairy.org or 855-800-BOOK to connect with volunteer helpers, or you can join a Facebook group like Bay Area Vaccine Hunters, which is the original source of many of these tips (more of which are here).
Additional things to keep in mind:
- The vaccine is 100% free to everyone, regardless of whether you have insurance. You don’t need insurance to get vaccinated. If you have it, providers will bill it. If not, they will bill the government.
- Immigration status is NOT asked or reported to any authority, and the vaccine is free to everyone regardless of immigration status.
- ID may be requested by providers to make sure you are the person for whom the appointment was booked. Any picture ID should suffice.
- Some vaccine clinics may be intended for specific groups based on zip code, county residence, or status as a military veteran, so proof of eligibility requirements may be necessary for those.
- if you are scheduling for other people — including family and friends — you will need to provide certain information about them, like birth date, email, cell phone, address, last four digits of social security number, and possibly more. Familiarize yourself with that info or make sure you can quickly get it from them as soon as you see an appointment.
Keep in mind that the best vaccine you can get is the one you can get soonest. The sooner we stop the virus circulating, the less likely there will be more variants that can evade the vaccines.