Turn To Tara offers tips to navigate vaccination appointment process as demand increases

The expansion of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in New York to include people with chronic diseases has put more of a strain on the already beleaguered appointment website.
Millions are scrambling to land an appointment for New York's limited supply, but News 12's Tara Rosenblum has compiled a few tips on how to increase your odds of getting an appointment. 
This week, New York state rolled out eligibility for millions of patients with pre-existing conditions, but many say that getting an appointment has been far from easy.  A similar scenario is also playing out in New Jersey where vaccine access expanded to the immunocompromised back in January. One month later, there are still hundreds of thousands of high-risk patients in the Garden State jockeying for a first dose.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has acknowledged that New York could see the same frustrating bottleneck as 11 million or so New Yorkers attempt to chase only 300,000 weekly doses of the vaccine. At that rate, it could extend the logjam well into summer.
The governor has asked New Yorkers to remain patient - but what can people do to move up the line?
- Try different browsers when searching for an appointment. 
- Be sure to have your driver's license and insurance card handy so you don't time out of the session. 
- Check frequently. The website may say there are no vaccine appointments, but in rare instances they become available due to cancellations. 
- Try getting appointments at different times. Two doctors have told the Turn To Tara team that a good time to log on is between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Some sites start releasing appointments when there are no-shows or extra doses on hand. The only catch is that you'll only have about an hour or two to get vaccinated that same day.
- Contact local pharmacies. Doses are being shipped directly to pharmacies in addition to the state mega-sites, so reach out directly to the ones in your neighborhood if you're over age 65. You can sign up for email alerts from some of them.
- Join a wait list: Several counties have started wait lists. You can sign up and they'll email you if any appointments open last-minute.
- Don't give up. You can still begin the process by clicking the "get started" button, and check "local providers," even if it says that appointments are not available. 
Just remember that you will still need to have a doctor's letter or proper documentation proving your underlying condition.