Boulder’s ‘vaccine angel’ has helped over 300 people find appointments

Kate Livingston works her magic to find available appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo by Jennifer Davis-Flynn)

Saturday, April 10, 2021

By Jennifer Davis-Flynn
For Boulder Beat

I’m a computer-literate woman who’s worked in digital media for the last decade. But when it came to getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the Front Range, I couldn’t score an appointment within 50 miles of my home in Boulder.

That’s when a friend suggested I call Kate Livingston.

A former pediatric nurse based in Boulder, Livingston has been volunteering her time to help friends, family and complete strangers as far away as Illinois and California schedule appointments.

“I love doing this,” said Livingston, 43. “It reminds me of nursing — advocating for people. Everyone is very grateful.”

I was. Within five minutes of Livingston working on my behalf, I had an appointment in Broomfield.

Livingston got started helping her own parents. Though they qualified for the vaccine in February, they weren’t sure how to proceed. She found them an appointment online, and soon her parents’ friends and neighbors started calling and asking for help.

Many older adults believed their primary care docs would contact them about scheduling an appointment, Livingston said. She started volunteering several hours a day to assist everyone who contacted her. She’s now helped over 300 people get vaccinated. 

“People talk about their pandemic hobbies,” she said. “Scrapbooking and sewing — and I’m scraping websites.”

She credits her resourcefulness to her background in nursing. 

“Nursing has helped me speak up and know that there are always other options and think outside the box,” she said. 

Currently, Livingston is scheduling 10-15 appointments a day. She plans to continue for as long as necessary.  

As of Thursday, 131,240 Boulder County residents have received at least one shot, about 48% of the population. Just over 26% of the local population is fully vaccinated. The CDC recommends that vaccinated persons still wear masks indoors to protect high-risk and unvaccinated people.

Boulder resident Suzanne Prendergast was one of the people Livingston was able to help. 

Prendergast, who turned 60 last year, had registered with Boulder Community Health, UCHealth and Kaiser, where she sat on a waitlist. Livingston was able to get her an appointment on the first day she was eligible. She’s also helped several students and faculty at the cooking school where she works. 

“She should be called the Vaccine Angel,” Prendergast wrote via email. “Without her dedication, I am certain there would be a few hundred people out there who would still be trying to find someone, anyone, to give them the immunity they so fervently wished for.”

Livingston herself was able to get her first shot of the Pfizer vaccine a week ago. 

“It felt good,” she said, “but not as good as helping other people.”

Kate’s Tested Tips for Nabbing a Vaccine Appointment

  • Have patience. Know that it’s likely not going to work out on the first try. Don’t give up.
  • Check the map on Vaccinespotter.org/CO for the green dots to find appointments. 
  • Morning is the best time to search for appointments. For King Soopers and City Market, you’ll have the most luck searching between 8-10 a.m. 
  • If you don’t see any open appointments, check for same-day cancellations by searching very early in the morning, around 6 a.m.
  • When searching by zip code, type in “803…”  instead of complete, individual zip codes. Most pharmacies will list all locations in Boulder County. 
  • Avoid time-consuming Captchas (those pesky tests that determine if you are a real person or a bot) by using “Incognito” browsing mode on Google. 

If you’d like to support Livingston, she asks that you donate to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley in her name.

— Jennifer Davis-Flynn is writer and digital strategist based in Boulder. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Jenniferdavisflynn.com
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