RICHMOND, Va. -- A 65-year-old real estate broker from Chesterfield and 43-year-old hospital worker from Henrico came together to create Central Virginia's newest online army: The RVA Vaccination Hunters.
Cindy Jez and Liz Thurman joined forces after they both got fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and noticed a lot of people expressing confusion about the process on social media.
"Some people are very confused," said Jez, who founded the page. "And so, I thought if we could develop some sort of platform where people could share information, then we might be helping others obtain their vaccine."
RVA Vaccination Hunters is a Facebook forum dedicated to helping people navigate Virginia's vaccine rollout.
As of Monday, nearly 5,000 people have joined the rapidly growing page to post about registration updates, available pharmacy appointments and all things related to the Coronavirus vaccine.
Thurman, who joined Jez as a page admin, emphasizes they encourage everyone to follow guidance from the Virginia Department of Health.
"Our focus is to help people book appointments within the established parameters. We're not trying to help people cheat the system or cut the line," said Thurman. "And we're not really encouraging people to drive around town looking for leftovers. We're trying to help them book their own appointment with these commercial pharmacies or other sites."
Since creating the page in January, success stories have been flooding the comments.
"We had someone post about looking for something for their 91-year-old grandfather," Thurman recalled. "They've been looking for a long time and within 10 minutes on the site, people sent them to resources. They said, 'this commercial pharmacy is open today' and they got vaccines scheduled."
Another positive example came from Chet Wade. He credits the RVA Vaccination Hunters for finding a shot for himself and his wife, who are both over 65-years-old and cancer survivors.
After joining the page, he was able to book an appointment through CVS.
"I think without it, I'm not sure where we would be," Wade said. "Probably still struggling, still floundering."
Wade also feels inspired witnessing how the page has guided others.
"It really does give you a lot of faith in people and in the future of our community and our country when you have people like this who are helping each other," Wade said.
For those who find success through the page -- Jez and Thurman only have one request: "Pay it forward and go help someone else."
If you're still on the hunt for a vaccine for yourself or a loved one, they invite you to check out their page.
"Look for the picture of Rosie the Riveter. That's us!," said Thurman and Jez.
We asked, "Why Rosie?"
Jez replied, "Because she was a woman that could get things done, and we are women trying to get things done."
If you're interested in joining the group, click here.