'Vaccine Buddies' helping seniors from Naperville and beyond get registered for COVID-19 vaccine

NAPERVILLE (WLS) -- A group of about 120 volunteers from Naperville and beyond are helping senior without internet, computers or smart devices sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine.

"In a day we probably sign up 40 to 50 people," said Vaccine Buddies volunteer, Laura Gaskill.

Vaccine Buddies was started back in February by Jim Hill and Rick Graffagna. Gaskill said she has dedicated every day to help those in need of a vaccine since she joined the group in February.

"For me what keeps me up at night is the people that show up to their local pharmacy and say, 'I'm here for my vaccine,' and the person says, 'you've got to go online,' and they don't know what do to," said Gaskill.

The volunteer believes she's helped sign up about 100 seniors for the vaccine. She said all they need to do is call a phone number.

"It goes to Jim Hill, who is the co-chair of the program. That phone number then takes that person to Jim or another greeter and they talk to the senior and gets some information, then it goes to a spreadsheet and then we just go from there," said Gaskill.

In addition to helping seniors for the Vaccine Buddies group, Gaskill and her neighbor Mary Brigid Creek, help their neighbors sign up for the vaccine.

"It seems like we're kind of chipping away at the pandemic in some way. You know, we're getting closer to the end knowing that they're the first in line- it doesn't mean everybody else isn't going to get there too," said Creek.

Both women said they'll continue to lend a helping hand.

"You don't need to know people to want good for them," said Creek.

Yukare Nakayama is a Community Journalist at ABC 7 Chicago. She tells stories on the West Side of the city in neighborhoods like Pilsen, Little Village, North Lawndale and Austin. Nakayama also covers the north shore suburbs such as Highland Park and Highwood. If you have a story to share in these neighborhoods, send an email to Yukare.X.Nakayama@abc.com
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