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Canisius High student helping seniors set up COVID-19 vaccine appointments

'It all started with my grandma,' said Dominic Redman, a junior at Canisius High School. From there, the effort kept gaining momentum.

DERBY, N.Y. — Throughout the coronavirus vaccine rollout, several people, especially seniors, have voiced their concerns about struggling to get an appointment. 

One local high school student saw that need and has stepped up to help. Now he's calling on others to do the same.

"It all started with my grandma," said Dominic Redman, a junior at Canisius High School.

He and his mother, Jill Redman, said they realized a call to action when his grandmother couldn't navigate the technology to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Jill said, "It took him about five minutes to schedule her, and once he did, she called her sisters, siblings, cousins, and he started scheduling them. That showed him that there was a great need for someone to step in on behalf of the elderly." 

From there, the effort kept gaining momentum.

Dominic told 2 On Your Side after helping several neighbors schedule their appointments, he put an ad in the PennySaver.

The ad reads in part, "If you are unable to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine, please call me ... and I will do my best to help you get your vaccine scheduled."

Jill said originally they expected to hear from seniors in just the Derby-Angola area, but already they've gotten calls from people as far as Lewiston. 

Credit: WGRZ

"We've been getting a lot of appointments coming through. We just booked an additional 23 today, and it's starting to grow rapidly," Dominic said.

Since he's still in school, his mom is helping out too.

"I think I had about 20 calls today from people just overwhelmed with, 'Oh my God, I got my vaccine,' " Jill said. "One lady told me she was just waiting to die. That's what she said.

"She goes, 'I knew I was just gonna die. I wasn't gonna get the vaccine,' and she was in tears. She said, "What does he want? What can I get him?' And I said, 'Nothing, don't get him a thing.' It's a call to action is what it is." 

Now Dominic is calling on his peers to take part in what he calls the Take Five Challenge.

He explained, "If you can reach out to five people, even your family, and just help them get vaccinated, it's a huge help."

Jill added, "We can create a domino effect and maybe Western New York could be the shining example of what other people should do in their community. It's about giving back to people."