‘I was shocked I got through’: News 3’s Mark Koehn shares how he was able to book his COVID vaccine appointment

Plus, 3 things to know when scheduling yours

MADISON, Wis.– Who knew a trip to Walgreens would be the highlight of News 3 anchor Mark Koehn’s 65th birthday? Mark booked his appointment online just two days earlier.

“Usually, it says, ‘No appointments available,'” Koehn explained. “Right? You get that screen. But I was at work, searched, and all these appointments came up. I was so shocked I got through.”

Two weeks earlier, Koehn received a very different message on the same site: no appointments available within 25 miles of Madison for the next three days.

We’re hearing that many of our viewers have been running into similar scenarios, too. News 3 Now asked Dr. Matt Anderson, from UW Health, to simplify the booking process. He broke it down into three steps:

  1. Find out who has the vaccine and where. You can find that information on the Wisconsin DHS website. Use the search bar to enter your city or zip code and locate a pharmacy or health care provider near you.
  2. Contact the vaccine location directly, either by phone or online. Ask if they have any vaccine appointments open, or search their online database yourself. If they don’t have any availability, ask if they can add your name to their waiting list.
  3. Be persistent. Call or refresh your Internet browser frequently and at different parts of the day.

Dr. Anderson recommends keeping a list of all the places you call, so that once you are able to schedule an appointment, you can remove your name from the waiting lists at other locations. Doing so will free up those spots for other people who still need to get their shots.

Anderson said he understands people’s frustration with the vaccination booking process. As a doctor, he’s frustrated he can’t provide immediate protection for his patients. But he’s optimistic about the progress that’s already being made.

“It’s going to get better,” Anderson said. “As supply increases, you’ll have more people who have more appointments available.”

And soon, like Koehn, you and your loved ones will be able to get their shots too.

“It was one of the best birthday presents I ever received,” Koehn said, sincerely. (But don’t worry, Koehn said he also celebrate with a delicious dinner from a Madison staple, Lombardino’s!)