CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Even as vaccine supplies slowly increase and more people become eligible to roll up their sleeves, getting a vaccine appointment has proven to be difficult for a lot of people.
For those with underlying health conditions that put them at a greater risk of having COVID-19 complications, it's been frustrating.
WCNC Charlotte spoke with Nilda Navedo, a Charlotte woman living with Sickle Cell Anemia. She’s barely been able to leave the house during the pandemic and was desperate for a vaccine appointment but could only get one in June.
This weekend, her luck changed, and she was able to get her first dose shot through StarMed.
“I got my sticker,” Navedo said on Monday.
But for her, it’s much more than just a sticker. The COVID-19 vaccine is her lifeline.
“I’ll be able to have a little bit sense of normalcy of what it was prior to the pandemic,” she said.
With Sickle Cell Anemia, she isn’t sure she’d survive coronavirus. She's spent the last year seeing her family from a distance, so when Group 4 became eligible to get the vaccine, she looked everywhere for an appointment.
The best she could get was June 15.
“It all came through with the community, so it was great," Navedo said. "I received some calls and texts from persons who saw the interview and said listen if you put this zip code, they have availability."
That helped her get an appointment for this week and then on Saturday, she got a call. There were extra doses at the Ovens Auditorium if she could get there.
“I was thinking okay I can't speed, I can't get a ticket, so how am I going to get there? But everything worked out perfectly,” she said.
She feels a sense of security, and even though she’ll continue to wear her mask and social distance until more people are vaccinated, she said she can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“This gives me a sense of, 'Yes you can come by and visit,' and everyone still stay protected but I’ll be able to see some family members this year,” said Navedo.
Navedo says she only had a sore arm after the first dose. She encourages other people to be persistent and have family or friends getting a vaccine to ask if there is a waitlist.
Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan.