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Find a shot

Looking to book a vaccination appointment for yourself or an eligible friend/family member? 

Use findashot.org to see if there are available appointments near you. (Check back often.)

Also sign up with the city to “reserve your place in line.” (If you’re not eligible now, you’ll be contacted when you are.) 

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When can I get the vaccine?

Here in Pennsylvania, we’re currently in phase 1A—vaccinating healthcare workers, people who are 65 or older, and those ages 16-64 with high-risk conditions.

Next up, first responders; teachers; childcare, food, agriculture and public transit workers and more. 

Review the details of each phase here and stay tuned on the latest vaccine news here

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Promote vaccine confidence

How long will vaccine immunity last? What are the side effects of the vaccine? How exactly does an mRNA vaccine work? CHOP’s vaccine Q&A page answers all your burning questions, busts myths and more.

Watch the webinar held by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to address the challenge of increasing “vaccine confidence.” Take time to make sure you’re informed, and then share what you know.

Finding A Shot

A Wharton MBA for Executives candidate has launched a site to help Americans find open vaccine appointments. Because we need all the help we can get

Finding A Shot

A Wharton MBA for Executives candidate has launched a site to help Americans find open vaccine appointments. Because we need all the help we can get

VideoBack in late December, when David Newell’s parents became eligible in Texas to get the Covid vaccine, he attempted what adult children all across America have spent hours doing over the last several weeks: finding them an appointment.

The Newells knew that their regular grocery store/pharmacy—Tom Thumb, a local chain owned by Albertson’s—was offering shots to qualified residents. But when Newell logged into the website, he found no appointments available.

So Newell did what any tech-savvy software engineer on his way to getting a Wharton MBA for Executives would do: He scrutinized the URL, and realized it contained “tomthumb3638”—the local store number. By changing the web address to contain the numbers of other local stores, he was able to search, one Tom Thumb after another, for an open time slot.

David Newell, Wharton student and founder of FindAShot.org
Wharton student and findashort.org founder David Newell

“With a little bit of ingenuity and technology knowledge you could dissect it and know how to search everywhere,” Newell says.

Simple, right? Hardly.

Do SomethingThankfully for the rest of us, Newell put that tech ingenuity to work building findashot.org, a volunteer-run (by him) site that allows users to find available appointments at any of several locations in their area including, in the Philly area, CVS, Rite-Aid and Walgreens pharmacies.

The site lists all the stores in a region (a search from South Philly actually called up pharmacies as far away as Staten Island) and notes where there are available shots. (It updates every few minutes.) Users can then click on that store’s appointment website directly from FindAShot.

“I wanted to solve the problem of how do you connect individuals with what they actually need—which is appointments,” Newell says. “The worst part is if an appointment goes unbooked because they make it hard to get to; that dose could potentially go wasted, unless you have a standby list. In an extreme case, that could cost lives.”

Currently, Newell says he has the ability to check for appointments in about 5,000 stores nationwide, and is in talks with WalMart and some other companies that could bring that number to 15,000.

Newell’s site, and others like it, don’t solve the whole problem of finding a vaccine, even for those who qualify (phase 1A in Pennsylvania right now). But it can cut down on some of the agony of the search by allowing users to track availability in almost real-time, and to find in one place vaccine slots as far away as they’re willing to drive.

“I wanted to solve the problem of how do you connect individuals with what they actually need—which is appointments,” Newell says. “The worst part is if an appointment goes unbooked because they make it hard to get to; that dose could potentially go wasted, unless you have a standby list. In an extreme case, that could cost lives.”

Newell, who lives outside Dallas, Texas, is in Wharton’s executive MBA class of 2021, taking his courses remotely this year rather than on campus or in the San Francisco office of his company, McAfee Security, where he does software product management. After earning a management science and engineering degree from Stanford University, he worked in the airline industry before turning to cybersecurity.

Newell launched findashot.org himself, in his free time, reaching out to Wharton colleagues to make connections to CVS and WalMart, and seeking feedback from a professor. It’s work even he hopes is short-lived, as the scramble for vaccinations eases up.

Read MoreFindashot.org is not the only website that promises to help people find vaccine appointments. The CDC is in the process of launching its own, vaccinefinder.org; another effort, vaccinatepa.org, focuses just on Pennsylvania, with volunteers from around the state who get lists of vaccination sites from the Department of Health and then make phone calls to find where there are appointments.

Nationally, there’s covidshotfinder.com, and vaccinespotter.org (which Newell says he has reached out to about combining efforts). Meanwhile, he’s reaching out to pharmacy and grocery chains—including Albertson’s, which owns Acme—about accessing their appointment availability data for FindAShot.org.

That these groups exist is, of course, a sign of the panic and disarray that has been the mark of the vaccine rollout (not to mention the pandemic). In Philly, there was the initial disaster with Philly Fighting Covid, loopholes that let people make appointments even though they are not 1A, fights over who qualifies for Philly doses—just those who live here, or those who work here, too—volunteer efforts to sign neighbors up for their shots? Getting a vaccine appointment, even for those who qualify, can feel like winning a marathon. To say the least, it’s a bizarre way to run a health crisis.

Newell himself did manage to successfully find his parents a vaccination appointment in Texas—and was even vaccinated himself under state guidelines for people with certain existing conditions. He knows that made him one of the lucky ones so far.

Still, these are early days and it’s overwhelming everyone. Take RiteAid, for example: Spokesman Christopher Savarese says the regional chain of 1,200 stores gets about 200,000 vaccine doses a week, with demand far outweighing the supply.

Savarese’s advice for how to get a shot: “Check frequently.”

Photo by Mark C. Olsen / Flickr

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