New York Never Built a Good System for Scheduling Vaccine Appointments, so a Random Software Engineer Did It in His Spare Time
Last month, I sat in my Brooklyn apartment and used all the colorful language I know to curse the state of New York’s horribly complex maze of vaccine appointment scheduling websites. My in-laws, who are in their 70s, had just become eligible to get vaccinated, and securing appointments for them was my highest priority. Scheduling that appointment has proven to be incredibly complicated. Despite having many months to prepare, New York government’s digital infrastructure has proven inadequate for handling a predictably large amount of demand for vaccinations.
When the government failed, a 31-year-old software engineer came to the rescue. Using just $50 and two weeks of time, New York resident and Airbnb engineer Huge Ma built a competing product called TurboVax which collects appointment availability information from NYC Vaccine Hub (the scheduler for 16 vaccination sites), NYC Health and Hospitals (21 sites), and NYS Vaccination Centers (6 sites).
He also built a bot that tweets out appointments when available:
[NYC H H · Brooklyn] Woodhull Hospital: 41 appts
Feb 11 – 7:00AM, 7:15AM, 7:30AM, 7:45AM and 37 morehttps://t.co/iVRnr1hjSf
— TurboVax (@turbovax) February 10, 2021
TurboVax does not book appointments on a patient’s behalf, but it does let patients know where there is availability and directs them to the appropriate website. Many of the existing government-run websites fail to notify patients when new appointments open up; TurboVax’s tweetbot remedies that. Of course, TurboVax’s innovation in terms of letting users know which appointme
Article from Latest – Reason.com