Chicago Vaccine Angels: Benjamin Kagan, 4, creates database helping hundreds track down COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Kagan first discovered he had a knack for navigating the vaccine system when he helped his grandparents who live in Florida.

Video Transcript

KAREN JORDAN: For many people, the path to getting a COVID vaccine is a long and winding road. But Benjamin Kagan is taking the legwork out of it for those who don't have the time, resources, or computer know-how to locate a dose. The 14-year-old tracks down where and when vaccines are available and makes appointments for people on a waiting list.

BENJAMIN KAGAN: It's a great feeling, to be able to help people like this. So I personally have helped 115 people.

KAREN JORDAN: Kagan first discovered he had a knack for navigating the vaccine system when he helped his grandparents who live in Florida. On winter break at the time, he spent hours remotely navigating that state's various websites, and finally got them appointments.

BENJAMIN KAGAN: I just kept trying. We had, I want to say four computers open, and we were trying on all of them, and I just got lucky.

KAREN JORDAN: Then Kagan heard about a group called vaccine hunters. He volunteered with the Chicago chapter, at first offering tips on how to locate the vaccine.

BENJAMIN KAGAN: I started getting all these private messages saying, Benjamin, we need help. Benjamin, I can't book it myself. Benjamin, help me, please.

KAREN JORDAN: Kagan made a spreadsheet of an ever-growing list of people needing vaccines and places where doses are available, finding that by scouring websites for pharmacies and grocery stores, especially late at night. That database helped him start his own group, Chicago Vaccine Angels.

ALI KAGAN: He saw a need for something that he felt that he could help with and he just jumped in.

KAREN JORDAN: It was also hard for Ashley Novoa, whose work in the community takes her in and out of shelters. She secured the vaccine with Kagan's help.

ASHLEY NOVOA: We have these people that are stepping up, and then a teenager at that, who could be outside with friends, doing whatever, but here he is, finding appointments for people. So it's amazing.

KAREN JORDAN: Kagan says he would like to see just one website that lists all of the places in our area that offer vaccines and the times they're available. In the meantime, he says he's happy to do what he can to help. Karen Jordan, ABC 7 Eyewitness News.