It’s often in times of challenge that innovation prospers.
During the pandemic, three college students collaborated to create a resource for people interested in getting vaccinated.
Richie Goulazion of Newtown, Bucks County and Seth Rubinstein of Doylestown, worked with another college student to launch vaccinatepa.org.
“It’s been hugely rewarding. About 400,000 people in Pennsylvania have used the site since we started it in January, so pretty astonishing. We’ve also gotten hundreds of emails and notes just thanking us for the site,” Rubinstein said.
Their idea started back in January when people in the first phase of Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout were competing for appointments.
“There was no one central place to actually find what facilities actually had vaccine availability,” Rubinstein said.
The state health department website listed vaccine sites, but there was no indication as to if they actually had any appointments available. Each person had to individually check with a provider.
“As someone with some web development experience, I saw there was room for improvement,” Goulazion said.
A group of their volunteers reaches out to providers daily to collect the latest information from each facility.
“Vaccine availability status as well as instructions for getting vaccine at that site, and then we publish it on our website,” Goulazion explained.
If the information is available, the site will also list what vaccine the provider has.
The site is completely free.
Rubeinstein, a grad student at Harvard Law, and Goulazian, a computer sciences student at the University of Pittsburgh, said they’ve invested under $40 to create and run it.