She called herself the Vaccine Whisperer.
It’s a fitting title for a woman who spends time hunting down COVID-19 vaccination appointments for friends, family, and coworkers.
“I’m a very busy person. I like to be busy,” smiled Janet Pitcher while sitting in her home studio behind two iPads and a sewing machine.
“I designed this to be able to do my clay jewelry and my costumes,” said the theatrical costume designer who lost a lot of work when the theaters in San Diego shut down.
So, the Murrieta woman spent the early part of the pandemic sewing fashionable face masks for hospitals. Then she started making them to sell online and through a wholesaler.
“A lot of them were fabric I had leftover. So, it was kind of fun to see some of the fabric from shows go into some of these masks,” said Pitcher.
She said she learned another skill out of desperation: Booking vaccination appointments.
Pitcher said she got her initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Petco Park in February. However, she said her appointment for the second dose was cancelled three times. Pitcher scrambled to book her own second appointment somewhere else.
“That’s where I kind of started figuring out how to work all of the different sites to find a second vaccine,” she said.
Pitcher said she booked appointments for her family. Then she booked some for her friends.
“Then it kind of steamrolled from there,” she laughed. “‘Well, okay I’ll help this friend,’ and ‘I’ll help this friend.’”
In between making masks, Pitcher scrolls through her two iPads looking for new appointments. She said she’s made upwards of 30 in the past few weeks. She said she’s taught many more to book appointments for themselves.
Pitcher said her best tip is searching between Midnight and 5:30 AM. She said people should also search drugstore pharmacy websites.
“The pharmacies are easier to book honestly,” she shrugged.
“I’m the Vaccine Whisperer,” she laughed. “Self-titled!”
She said it felt good to help so many people, but she does have an agenda.
“I want everyone vaccinated because I have grandkids who live in Canada and Canada’s not letting me in until we get our numbers down.”
Pitcher wants to return to the theater. She wants everyone to be healthy. She wants to hug her grandchildren.
“It’ll be amazing. It’ll be wonderful.”