Are you eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine but struggling to book an appointment? Here are some more tips to help you out. All you need is your phone.
A bot, which was created by a Bay Area engineer, uses the Telegram (Messenger) chat app, and is similar to sites like vaccinehunter.org and Dr. B. It updates every hour to reach out and find you a shot.
"The bots that run this program are checking over 100 sites throughout the Bay Area," Rolando Bonilla, vice chair of the planning commission, said.
The app is free to download from the Apple and Android app stores. To use the app, users will need to sign up, then tap on the "Chats" icon at the bottom of the screen, and then type in "BayAreaVaccineNotification" (all one word) in the search field in order to join the channel. There is also a desktop link you can visit from a computer. For more detailed instructions (from the engineer who created the site), visit this Google doc that walks you the process step-by-step for both iPhone and Android.
A lot of people are also using Instagram and Facebook in their quest for an appointment. The platforms know where you are and also cast a net to track down open appointments.
"What we're trying to do is connect people with where the vaccine is," Robert Traynham from Facebook said.
Social media is also a favorite among so-called vaccine whisperers, who help others find and make appointments.
"For some people it's their hospital, for some people it is their pharmacy," Traynham said. "It really depends on your local community. We just put you in touch. We just literally are the connector with whatever's available in your area."