If you’ve been constantly refreshing your browser in an attempt to book a COVID vaccine appointment, you’re not alone. But Dr. B, a website that connects users with leftover vaccine doses in their area the moment they become available, aims to help move things along by ensuring more doses are being used by people in need.
The New York-based startup soft launched in January of 2021, keeping the announcement largely under wraps in order to prioritize getting the service to underserved communities, Business Insider reported. Now the site is widely advertised for public use, and more than a million people have already signed up for the service to receive alerts about extra doses.
The purpose behind Dr. B — which is a free service anyone can sign up for — is to alleviate the waste of vaccine doses. Extra doses have to be used within hours of leaving the freezer to preserve the vaccine potency. And that’s why vaccine chasing has become popular, and why clinics scramble to call people on the waitlist towards the end of the day so they can use up every last shot. Dr. B connects standby users with nearby vaccine centers’ extra shots so that last-minute appointments are easier to come by and no doses have to be tossed.
To sign up for the free service online, you’ll share personal information like your profession and health conditions so the system can put you in line based on your eligibility. Providers can also register so Dr. B can start connecting their leftover doses with willing arms.
Once you’re in the platform, you’ll get an alert if there’s a vaccine appointment available near you. Dr. B will give you about 15 minutes to claim the offer, and if you accept, you can head straight to the provider to get your shot. If you decline the appointment or don’t respond to the alert in the allotted time, the appointment will be offered to the next person on the list. While getting a vaccine appointment through Dr. B relies on your ability to head to the clinic at a moment’s notice, the service could provide some welcome structure to a vaccine rollout that’s been largely chaotic.