Benamy and a small group of volunteers got together to create NYC Vaccine List, a website that crawls various locations to see if they have supplies and appointments available.
The website currently reports the availability at 45 locations offering vaccinations in the five boroughs, on Long Island and in Westchester and parts of the Hudson Valley. The crawler automatically and periodically checks the locations for appointment slots.
The website was inspired by a similar, community-driven vaccine-availability tracker in California. Some members of the NYC Vaccine List team were involved in the California community. Over time, volunteers with skills in graphic design, marketing and software development came on board.
One of the volunteers in outreach and research joined because NYC Vaccine List helped him find an appointment for his grandfather, Benamy said.
The cost of maintaining and hosting the site is shared among the team.
“There is no formal funding process,” Benamy said. “We’re just using our personal credit cards.”
The site, which launched last week, has received the attention of City Councilman Mark Levine and Chelsea Clinton, both of whom tweeted about the volunteer efforts. The site exceeded 50,000 visits in its first few days.
The team is working to add more locations to its list. It is estimated there are more than 129 sites to check for appointments in the city alone, Benamy said. There are also locations where vaccine availability is not published online, and volunteers are reaching out to them by phone to obtain the information.
“Getting that category up is one of our highest priorities,” Benamy said. “Hopefully we can achieve that soon.”
NYC Vaccine List is looking at adding additional languages, as well as making the site more accessible for people who are not very tech-savvy.
“We just want everyone to be able to find a vaccine as quickly as possible,” Benamy said.