A Manhattan college professor was able to snag a coveted COVID-19 vaccine appointment — but only by writing code to scour the city’s byzantine sign-up system for available slots.
Cory Evans, 33, who teaches philosophy at Baruch College, said that he found himself struggling to navigate the city’s online vaccine system when he became eligible for the shot as an in-person lecturer.
“The interface of the system is totally unworkable. It doesn’t show you the vaccine appointments until you register,” the Upper East Side resident told The Post.
The city’s convoluted system takes residents to a page listing vaccine distribution sites, but it doesn’t feature all of the available appointments in one place — instead forcing people to click back-and-forth between the different centers scouring for slots.
“It’s sort of like if you’re booking a flight on Google,” said Evans — as opposed to a site that groups all options together like Expedia.
Though he says that he’s “no computer programming expert,” Evans coded a script that allowed him to see all of the appointments at once.
“Using that script, I got an appointment pretty fast, in a couple of minutes. But it’s not a great thing that people have to create little computer add-ups in order to get a vaccine appointment,” said Evans.
He ultimately received his first dose of the Moderna vaccine on Jan. 17 at a New York Health and Hospitals location in lower Manhattan.
Evens, who knows how to code from his experience in quantitative forecasting for political events, urged the city to find ways to improve the site experience for those who are not as tech-savvy.
“First off, it’s kind of ridiculous and overcomplicated. Second of all, I think that vaccines should be allocated to individuals, regardless of computer-coding ability,” he said.
He suggested the city find someone who can whip up something similar to his program — or enlist the help of a company already using similar technology.
“I’m sure like Kayak.com, or any of those multi-booking websites or tech companies can probably create something like I did that is much cleaner and much better and make it available to all users,” Evans said.
“And that would take a couple of hours probably, at most honestly… One of the companies would probably be happy to do it for free.”
Councilman Mark Levine, the chair of the council’s Committee on Health, has called for a “single, simple, accessible way for people to get appointments.”
“You shouldn’t have to write code to get vaccinated,” he wrote on Twitter.
A team of volunteers has also launched a website that scours vaccine sites for open spots.
Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks