HOUSTON — Some people across the Greater Houston area are doing everything they can to share, research and discuss the latest information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
In late January, Laurie Desautels launched the public Facebook group: Vaccinate Houston- COVID-19 Vaccine Updates. DesAutels saw a need for a public forum to share and spread accurate information after watching the friends of her elderly mother struggle to register for a vaccine.
The Facebook group’s garnered more than 15,000 members in less than two months.
“I can’t do this alone. I have a team of admins and moderators and the members who continually post information,” said Desautels during a Zoom interview from her Cypress home.
In February, Desautels used the social media forum to ask for help. She needed someone to help create a website that could serve as an extension of the Facebook group, because, “When people hear, CVS is open well then they’re looking to find the CVS vaccine link. And so on our website, it’s pharmacy links, hub information links, allocation list links.”
If you’ve scrolled through Facebook, you might think, “It just becomes clutter. It just becomes a ton of clutter.”
Within hours, group member Luiz Gouvea, who’d never met Desautels, offered to help. Gouvea says tips and tricks offered by members of the Facebook group helped him secure an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Gouvea, a software developer who lives in The Woodlands built the website and VaccinateHouston.com and will continue to update it for free. It lists all of the hyperlinks people on the Facebook group might need, from state health department information, to the qualifications for groups 1A, 1B and 1C and links to how and where to sign up for an appointment.
“We are not doctors. We are not politicians or anything else,” said Gouvea of the grassroots effort to get his community vaccinated against COVID-19. “We are regular people. Regular people helping regular people.”
The website also connects Texans to vaccinate locator Facebook groups in Dallas and Austin. The website’s been live for less than a week. Gouvea says he’s had more than 8,700 visits to the site.
You can also find vaccination resources on KHOU.com/Vaccine and for phone numbers and links, text VACCINE to 713-526-1111.