College Students May Have a Better Way to Find the COVID Vaccine
Three University of Pittsburgh students have created a website to help Pennsylvanians get vaccinated as easily as possible. See how it works.
Without a centralized system for connecting available doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the people now eligible for them, finding a place that has the shots is a bit like, forgive the obvious pun, finding a needle in a … well you know.
Three students at the University of Pittsburgh have created a website to help solve the problem. It’s vaccinatepa.org. With help from a team of volunteers, Seth Rubinstein, Zhengming (Ming) Wang and Richey Goulazian gather data such as which providers have the vaccine, if there is a waitlist, and how to make an appointment – all information currently not on the state’s vaccine website. Having all of that information in one place saves time for people searching for an appointment and eases the burden on providers who are often inundated with phone calls.
“Just placing the same phone calls to the same places asking the same questions about availability — but we are just doing that once, updating over time and making that centrally available,” Rubinstein told KDKA.
Vaccine providers are grateful for the help.
“Every time I make a call and tell the hospital or pharmacy this is what we are doing, they are always super pumped because they are getting flooded by calls, so if we could decrease that by 50 percent, it would make a huge impact,” said Wang.
In order to keep the project going, more volunteers are needed.
“One of the things I’ve always loved about software engineering and computer science is you can make a huge impact from just sitting at your desk. And being in these quarantine times, I’m not even in Pittsburgh right now, I’m at home. Being able to make a large impact from my desk is quite an awesome experience,” said Goulazian.
Volunteers interested in helping the team make calls can reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.