The website Dr. B plans to connect people who want vaccines with leftover dosages. Here’s how it works.
Vaccines are available all over the country, with health systems and workers becoming more and more efficient in their distribution. But preexisting conditions and age requirements have placed many people far down the list. Needless to say, there are a lot of people trying to find ways of getting their shots before they’re actually eligible.
New York based start-up Dr. B is hoping to help, connecting these people with leftover vaccines in nearby locations. People can sign up for the service online at a moment’s notice for free.
Extra vaccine shots are a problem that a lot of services don’t know how to deal with. Paradoxically, due to the disorganization of the vaccine process and the regulations that prevent people from getting their shots, some inoculations end up going to waste, either by people who miss out on their appointments, or those who simply have trouble navigating the websites that provide the information they need to get a shot.
“Ultimately, patients need this vaccine, and there’s providers who need help getting it to the people of priority,” Dr. B founder Cyrus Massoumi told the New York Times. “That’s my motivation.” Massoumi is also the founder of ZocDoc and Shadow, another service that reunites lost pets with their owners. He’s interested in connecting groups that need something from the other at no extra expense.
For the time being, about 500,000 people have joined Dr. B, providing basic information, like date of birth, address, underlying health conditions and occupation — stats that facilitate prioritizing the list. This data is stored in a database that would then connect the people who need it most with a shot as soon as possible.
Dr. B is easy to navigate, as long as you have a smartphone. The one limitation that those who sign up for Dr. B must contend with is a flexible schedule; if participants want their vaccine, they must be able to mobilize quickly since appointments are under tight deadlines.