As of today, every adult in California is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. As amazing as this is, the path to finding an appointment means navigating 8+ health systems/vendors. Anything but straightforward.
In response, Mukesh Aggarwal – a software engineer – spent the past month building and refining an app idea. This app looks for appointments across all of the provider websites in the SF Bay Area and sends an hourly update on a Telegram channel (details here). Over the past few days, the number of people subscribed to the channel grew from a few thousand to tens of thousands.
I am one of those subscribers. I turned on the app and my notifications on Wednesday. Within a couple of hours, I had booked an appointment for Friday morning. Smooth.
San Jose Planning Commissioner Rolando Bonilla contacted Mukesh and requested him to add East San Jose – an area with among the highest infection rates.
In a CBS article, Bonilla later said – “To me, Mukesh is a hero. This is the time to rewrite the rules and aggressively partner up with people like Mukesh in the private sector, to see how they can actually help. Because they’re wanting to, they’re willing to, but counties have to open those doors in order to make that a reality.”
Indeed. Mukesh has done a wonderful service to the community. He’s also offered his code for anybody who wants to build it for their area.
And, Bonilla’s notes on rewriting the rules resonated. Seeing ideas like this come to life do point to the potential of government organizations partnering with individuals willing to pitch in.
I hope we’ll see a lot more of this.