PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Local members of a fraternity at Bradley University are making it easier for anyone to secure a vaccine appointment.
Fraternities and sororities are known for their philanthropy efforts. Limited by the pandemic, the members of Theta Xi fraternity came up with a community outreach project to help people book COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
The idea came from their alumnus mentor, Craig Janus. He said the students jumped at the idea and more than half the brothers are vax hunters.
“I quickly realized that young people that had tech knowledge experience had a much easier time finding and booking COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Janus.
It involves a simple Google Form that once submitted, the students will find and book an appointment for those that apply. The form is also accessible by a QR code, which can be found at the bottom of this article.
“It’s definitely a service that we’re willing to provide for anybody in the community, not just the high-risk folks, even somebody that you know is capable of doing it themselves. If they just simply are too busy and think that our form is easier for them, we’re happy to help anybody in the community too,” he said.
The students work in “Early Bird” and “Night Owl” shifts in order to book appointments as soon as they become available, at 6 a.m. and midnight, respectively.
“Because we’re so fast, people are shocked and amazed at how quickly, how quick and easy the process is. They’re very quick to send responses and so I even get responses now from friends saying ‘hey, you helped my family and my friends, my coworkers,'” said Janus.
Since March, they have booked more than 400 appointments in 20 states. Janus said Peoria is experiencing a surge in cases, and now that the vaccine is more readily available, they are shifting their focus closer to home.
“We would love to be able to get hundreds of people signed up and get those shots off of the shelves and into people’s arms. We are looking at local businesses, bars, restaurants, recreational facilities, anybody that’s willing to help us help their employees help their customers,” he said.
David Varon, the fraternity’s philanthropy chair, said its rewarding because each shot is “one step closer to herd immunity.”
“It feels good. A lot of the people I sign up [later] email me with thank you’s. Pre-existing conditions make them particularly vulnerable, and they’re a lot less vulnerable with the vaccine in them that they would not have had otherwise if they had not filled out their survey,” he said.