In mid-January, when vaccine eligibility was expanded to include those 65 and older, a software developer named Dan Benamy tried to help his grandparents schedule an appointment. The painstaking process required him going through various websites of the city Health Department and health systems to look for an available slot.
Benamy decided there had to be an easier way, and decided to take the opportunity to help. Along with a small group of volunteers, he helped create NYC Vaccine List, a website that “crawls” various locations to see if they have supplies and appointments available.
The website currently reports the availability at 45 locations offering vaccinations in the five boroughs, on Long Island, and in Westchester and parts of the Hudson Valley. It automatically and periodically checks the locations for appointment slots.
The website was inspired by a similar, community-driven vaccine-availability tracker in California. Some members of the NYC Vaccine List team helped build the California site.
The cost of maintaining and hosting the site is shared among the team.
“There is no formal funding process,” Benamy said. “We’re just using our personal credit cards.”
The site, which launched in Jan., has received the attention of City Councilman Mark Levine and Chelsea Clinton, both of whom tweeted about the volunteer efforts. The site exceeded 50,000 visits in its first few days.
The team is working to add more locations to its list. It is estimated there are more than 129 sites to check for appointments in the city alone, Benamy said. There are also locations where vaccine availability is not published online, and volunteers are reaching out to them by phone to obtain the information.
NYC Vaccine List is looking at adding additional languages, as well as making the site more accessible for people who are not tech-savvy.
Source: Crain’s New York Business