Volunteer computer programmers build websites to help track down open vaccine appointments

Technology

Finding a vaccine appointment can be a hit or miss experience, especially if you’re trying to help out a loved one across the miles. That’s why computer programmers have taken it upon themselves to build out websites that collect data from various appointment sites and put it all into one place.

“I think many times the people who are most at risk have the hardest times signing up for a vaccine… so accessibility is really core to our message,” explained Andrew Friedman, a 24-year-old who created Find My Vax LA.

His website aggregates data from various providers and puts it all on one screen. It also sorts appointments by those closest to you.

“People, a lot of times, don’t have time to look for hours and hours and hours and now people can … with a few clicks of a button… find it,” said Friedman.

Similar sites are popping up across the country, like TurboVax for the New York City area. COVID-19 Vaccine Spotter is another popular site.

“This sort of came about after hearing a lot of the frustrations of coworkers in trying to find vaccine appointments for their parents,” explained Nick Muerdter, creator of VaccineSpotter.org.

Nick Muerdter

Muerdter’s site scans pharmacy websites in 50 states, then puts all of their information on one screen.

“It tries to automate that process that people were having to go through of going and trying all these different zip codes and different store locations like that,” explained Muerdter, who talked to me via Skype from his home in Colorado.

These websites aren’t official and don’t attempt to step on the toes of government or private sites run by retailers administrating shots.

Often, these computer programmers are in touch with the administrators who run the actual sites to be sure they’re not interfering. Other times, their appointment checking bots are blocked so they try to find a creative workaround.

Andrew Friedman

“So many people during this entire pandemic have stepped up… whether in the technology space or in the public sector and I think I’m just one of many,” concluded Friedman.

Follow Rich DeMuro on Instagram for more tech news, tips and tricks.

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