HELOTES, Texas – With just a few clicks and in less than five minutes, one woman from Helotes says she’s able to register any qualifying senior citizen for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Karen James, who suffers from a chronic lung condition, says the process has become extremely easy to manage which is why for the past month, she’s been helping register senior citizens who are at a disadvantage due to the digital registration process.
“At first it was hard for myself, but then it got easy,” James said. “I would click and (a vaccine slot) would be open, and I was able to get myself in and then my elderly father and then, you know, family and friends.”
Their vaccinations were through University Health, but now, James uses every registration website available for the vaccine.
She prefers to use H-E-B and Walmart due to availability.
“Their sites are constantly open,” James said.
This has allowed her to learn the system thoroughly, including how long the system will hold her place and at what point of the registration process the slot is secured.
“The key, though, is refreshing (the webpage),” James said. “Some people get on and they’ll see the message (of) no more vaccinations, and they don’t know that you need to refresh the screen and just keep refreshing the screen and then something will pop up.”
Another strategy to James’ advantage is her quick ability to fill out the form.
“You have to have fast fingers,” James said. “You just really have to be fast because you have to get to that third screen (on H-E-B’s website). When you get to the third screen, you’re in.”
James offers her help during her spare time and is contacted by strangers through Facebook.
“I don’t know most of these people,” James said. “I’ll probably never meet them, but it feels, like, so rewarding to know that I made a difference in their lives.”
At last count, James alone has helped register 436 senior citizens.
“I feel like maybe God’s using me because I don’t know how else (I can help people during this pandemic),” James said. “I mean, when all these people say they’re struggling to get in, and I know that it’s not easy for our elderly population and the vulnerable. Then, I get on (my laptop) and get them (registered in a few clicks). To me, it’s easy, but I can see their frustration and pain because so many people have lost loved ones.”
Don Collier is the son of a woman James helped.
“In a rant on Facebook, I posted that I was frustrated and (asked if) someone could help me get my mother and my employee an appointment (for the vaccine),” Collier said. “So, a mutual friend that Karen and I had (on Facebook) reached out.”
The mutual friend put Collier and James in contact. What Collier had been trying to accomplish for almost a month, James secured in minutes.
“By the time that I gave (James) my information, it was, what, five minutes or less for my mother,” Collier said. “I just sat back and just was in utter shock, and then what was it, about an hour? Within an hour, (my employee) Sharon was scheduled as well.”
Collier believes James helped save his mother’s life.
“My mother had an embolism and was in ICU for over a week in December,” Collier said. “She had a blood clot in her lung, and so I knew that if she contracted COVID-19, that it would end her life.”
He hopes that once he’s vaccinated and the pandemic is over, one day he can thank James in person.
“I would say thanks for being a great example on how we need to help our fellow brother and sister, and thanks for being that positive example,” Collier said. “It’s caused me to look and reflect, to see what I can do better as an individual to help others as well.”
James said she hopes to help more people like Collier’s mother and employee as she’s always wanted to be a blessing for other people.
For more information or to request James’ help to register a senior citizen in need of the vaccine, e-mail her at ALittleCOVIDBlessing@gmail.com.