The frustration of the system for vaccine signups in Maryland is shared by everyone who doesn't fall easily into one of the designated priority groups like health care providers or teachers. Right now Howard County is not scheduling anyone in the 1c category and there are many in the 1b group that are not getting appointments. School personnel seems to be the priority right now in our County. If you are in the 1b or 1c categories I have some suggestions that might be more successful with the pharmacy sign-ups. Set up accounts with all the pharmacies in Maryland that schedule appointments. This includes Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, Safeway, and Giant. This will get you to an appointment faster when the appointments become available. The appointments go fast so you don't want to have to set the accounts up when you learn there are appointments. It is frustrating not knowing when appointments are available and have to refresh the webpages at all hours of the day. Monday mornings are the best time around 7-8 am but any morning during that time period is best.
Here is a Facebook group that makes the monitoring for an appointment easier. It is called Maryland Vaccine Hunters and it has over 1,800 followers. When one person finds a pharmacy with appointments they post the information on this page. I have been tracking this page for a couple of days and it is not unusual to see 20-30 people get an appointment after something is posted on the page. Yesterday it was the Walgreens pharmacies that people had success with but it can change each day. The information now is that CVS will start posting appointments on Thursday morning. Checking the Maryland Vaccine Hunters page each morning starting around 7 am until 9 am can give you the jump on the appointments that go quick. The websites get overwhelmed quickly and it is not unusual that being too late will get you an error message. That is a sign of an overwhelmed site. The pharmacies don't seem to have made their web portals equipped with the capability to be flooded with people trying to access them all at once.
Feel free to share this post with others looking for an appointment. Let's hope new vaccines get approved quickly so this shell game of a system can be retired.