Screenshot from the city’s Vaccine Finder website
Making good on its word, the NYC Health Department overhauled the city’s COVID vaccine scheduling portal to include real-time appointment availability. Previously, Vaccine Finder listed all providers but did not specify availability, meaning users would have to spend time filling out multiple registration forms just to be told there were no vaccines.
Currently, 10 million New Yorkers, roughly half the state’s population, are eligible to receive the vaccine. About 4.5 million of these people are New York City residents. The first group included 7 million people in groups 1A (healthcare workers and nursing home residents/staff) and 1B (education workers, first responders, public safety workers, public transit workers, public-facing grocery store workers, and New Yorkers 65+). In mid-February, those with underlying health conditions became eligible, too.
The revamped website will come as a big relief to those seeking vaccination appointments, as the process was previously quite daunting. Until now, the only websites that offered real-time availability were those created by private NYC residents. TurboVax was built in January by Huge Ma, a local 31-year-old software engineer for Airbnb. As we previously explained, “After trying to make his mother an appointment and realizing how decentralized and messy the process was, he decided to create an easier system. In just two weeks and for less than $50, he built TurboVax, culling availability data from the three main city and state vaccine systems.”
The other site is called NYC Vaccine List and shows availability for city, state, and private locations. Similarly, it came out of someone’s exhaustive search for vaccines for her grandparents. According to the Times, “About 20 volunteers write code, reach out to community organizations and call inoculation centers directly to post the centers’ availabilities.”
Like these websites, the city-run Vaccine Finder updates in real-time, so if you click the refresh button, you’ll get the most up-to-date availability. It also allows you to click through to the various providers. The big change is that the availability is shown on the homepage, so you don’t have to fill out all your information first.
Do note that Vaccine Finder is only for city-operated sites and private sites located in New York City. Appointments at state-run sites like those at the Javits Center and Medgar Evans College can be made through the state’s vaccine portal.
Last month, Mayor de Blasio announced a new vaccine website called Vax4NYC that would streamline the entire process, including all vaccine distributors that are partnering with the city and being available in the 10 most prevalent languages found in the city. It’s unclear if this project is still moving forward or if the city will continue with Vaccine Finder.
As of yesterday, 2,064,479 total vaccine doses have been administered in New York City; 637,242 people have been fully vaccinated, according to the city’s COVID-19 data. Statewide, 4,819,412 total doses have been administered; 1,694,387 people have been fully vaccinated, according to the state’s COVID-19 data.
You can visit Vaccine Finder here >>
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on February 17, 2021, and has been updated with new information.
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