Online application aims to reduce vaccine waste by alerting people of extra doses
Extra Vaccine Notifier is designed to connect health professionals and people who want to be vaccinated to reduce waste.
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Health care providers and pharmacies in Nebraska pride themselves on being diligent about not wasting vaccine.
“We want to make sure that every vial that we open, is used,” Four Corners Health Department executive director Laura McDougall said.
Still, across the country, there are instances when vaccines go to waste.
That has opened the door for websites like Extra Vaccine Notifier to try and help out.
“What we do is, you go on there as a nurse or healthcare professional individually, it does some verification to make sure you actually have a license and then within a few minutes, you got people showing up at your location,” says Steven Cook, president of Force4Good and CTO for Voltage.
There are similar websites, like Dr. B, that aim to reduce vaccine waste. Cook says the difference between the two is that Dr. B connects with larger organizations and is only in a few states, while Vaccine Notifier connects with individuals and is in all 50 states.
“Up until now, if you are a nurse, or you’re a pharmacist, or whoever, and you end up with extra vaccines out your hand at the end of the day, your organization doesn’t have any way of getting those out to people,” Cook said. “Before your only option was, well, you can throw them away or you can try to grab someone on the street.”
The plan is for providers to be able to have access to lists of people who want to get vaccinated and if they have extra doses, the software will send automated text messages to people in the area informing them that extra doses are available.
Cook acknowledges that Vaccine Notifier is more of a stopgap to help people in the short term.
“These health care companies, they have resources, but to try to save lives on one hand, what are the chances they’re going to come and build their own waitlist software and have it released in three weeks?” Cook said. “So really, we’re going to continue putting ourselves out there continue to getting subscribers as another option to get connected with direct individuals. I hope we can be as helpful as we can.”
Thus far, Vaccine Notifier has amassed 28,000 subscribers in all 50 states, with California having the most people registered. Vaccine Notifier just added the ability for medical professionals to sign up last week and are working get as many registered as they can.