Nick Muerdter put his programming expertise to use to help communities get vaccinated.
“It seemed like a lot of people were just spending a lot of time on these pharmacy websites,” said Muerdter, a 34-year-old software engineer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado. “And those were particularly frustrating just because it was, you know, you go to the website, you enter a zip code, you select a store and then nope, no, no appointments. And then you need to try a different store or try a different zip code.”
In other words, the kinds of repetitive tasks that Muerdter knew computers can do better – and faster. And that gave him an idea.
In mid-February, Muerdter began creating a tool in his free time that scanned local pharmacies’ vaccine appointment availability and gathered all that information in one place – allowing users to view nearby available appointments just by plugging in their zip code and how far they were willing to drive.
Coworkers that had been searching for weeks found appointments for eligible family members in just days, he said, with the help of the new website.
“This just really sort of tried to automate what you would have to do if you were to go the websites and enter every single zip code or … check every single store in your area,” he said.
See his site, Vaccine Spotter at www.vaccinespotter.org.