14-year-old Chicago teen founds volunteer group to help senior citizens get vaccine appointments

News & Politics

A 14-year-old computer whiz from Chicago has started a volunteer organization to help senior citizens secure appointments to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Benjamin Kagan, a freshman student at Francis W. Parker School in Chicago, is using his free time between class and homework to assist elderly people in the Chicago area make appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I started this by helping my grandparents that live in Florida get their vaccine and then from there I sort of moved on to my parents’ company, which is an essential business here in Chicago, and I scheduled their employees for vaccines,” he told Fox News on Monday.

Seeing a need, Benjamin joined a Chicago-based “vaccine hunters” Facebook group and began posting tips on how seniors could schedule appointments to get the vaccine.

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“I was getting a lot of Facebook private messages asking me to directly help people that couldn’t type fast enough or wouldn’t know when the appointments were coming out, and so I started trying to just help these people,” Benjamin said. “I realized that there were so many people and I couldn’t possibly do it all myself.”

So Benjamin founded Chicago Vaccine Angels to help senior citizens book appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. People in need of the vaccine can fill out a Google form which volunteers with Benjamin’s organization will use to schedule their appointment.

“We’ve scheduled over 600 people to get their vaccines,” Benjamin said.

In Benjamin’s experience, the biggest challenge for people trying to get the vaccine is time flexibility and location flexibility. Availability of vaccines are limited, so people must be willing to drive further than they’d like at the spur of the moment when a vaccine becomes available.

“This is so important to me because I’ve read some of these stories and they’re absolutely heartbreaking,” he told Fox News host Dana Perino. “These people are in such bad situations and then to be able to come in and solve this so people can see their grandparents or, you know, I’ve heard from cancer patients that are afraid of dying of COVID. To be able to step in here and say, ‘here’s your vaccine,’ I can quite possibly be saving your life or letting you get back to normal. It just feels incredible.”

“We’re doing out best to keep up right now, we just want to help as many people as we possibly can,” he added.

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