So-called ‘vaccine crusader’ signs up more than 300 Minnesotans for COVID-19 shots

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Bridget Hovde started helping family and close friends, 65 years old or older, sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations online.

Her push to help family and friends began after she realized many of them did not have the technology available to them to do it themselves, or they did not understand the process.

But now Hovde has extended her helping hand to complete strangers through Facebook.

"I posted a message saying I would help people out and it took off from there," said Hovde. "Then, Channel 5 did a story about it last week and since then I have been able to sign up more than 300 older Minnesotans who might not have had the opportunity to do it themselves for a variety of reasons."

When people reach out to her, Hovde says she gets people’s names, dates of birth and addresses and then uses some creativity to find openings for online vaccination appointments for them.

‘Vaccine crusader’ helps older Minnesotans sign up to get shots

"One thing I did, in the beginning, was set an alarm clock to wake me up just before midnight," Hovde said. "That’s when a lot of the new vaccination openings are posted on various websites. And if you hit it right at midnight you can have some success."

Tom Smith told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS Hovde’s help was a game-changer for him because he had tried, unsuccessfully, for several weeks to sign up for a COVID-19 shot.

"After making a connection with Bridget I would say I had an appointment to get my shot in about three minutes," Smith said. "I almost didn’t believe it, but it did happen and I received my first shot Tuesday."

The state of Minnesota urges people to sign up at the Minnesota Department of Health’s web page by using the agency’s "Vaccine Connector" site. People can also register for COVID-19 vaccinations on the websites of private pharmacies as well.