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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Innovative online tool helps San Diegans track down vaccine appointments

The "CovaxSD" bot is free and available to anyone on Twitter, helping find and alert subscribers to open vaccine appointments in the San Diego area.

SAN DIEGO — For those San Diegans still searching for one of those elusive vaccine appointments, there is a new online tool to help with that.

"I think it was actually more difficult to find vaccine in San Diego," said Andre Le, a San Diego native and a software user-experience designer. "The sites are different: they're really challenging to navigate."

Le, who grew up in City Heights and now lives in New York City, wanted to help his family here at home track down COVID vaccine appointments, including his mom, who works as a pre-school teacher.

"I was trying to find a vaccine for her," Le said. "It was also really difficult."

Le, who suffers from asthma, used a "Twitter bot" to find his vaccine appointment in New York.

"A 'bot' is just a computer program that browses web pages just like a human does," he explained. 

Inspired by that, Le created his own Twitter bot called "Covax SD," free and available to anyone on Twitter, which helps track down and alert subscribers to open vaccine appointments in the San Diego area.

"It's been so easy," he added. "You just click through a link and find appointments and book it, and they're done!"

This innovative way of helping track down COVID vaccine appointments comes as San Diego is facing an ongoing supply shortage, prompting the temporary shutdown of sites like the Scripps Del Mar vaccination superstation this Saturday, as well as the following weekend.

The Petco Park superstation is also closing for good after Saturday to get ready for baseball season.

The convention center, which is winding down its shelter operations beginning next week, has been eyed as a possible replacement for the Petco Park vaccination site.

"We don't need to do that immediately because we have plenty of capacity  in the rest of our network," said Nathan Fletcher, chair of the County Board of Supervisors.

 "Even if we had a significant uptick in the supply of vaccines, the rest of the 30 sites would be able to absorb it and at that point we could move forward  with standing up the operation at the Convention Center," Fletcher added. 

As for Andre Le, he is grateful to help connect San Diegans with vaccines as they do become available - something he has succeeded in doing for all of his family members.

"Most of them are essential workers," he said. "They have been out there and I've been worried about them for the whole pandemic, so I'm very happy." 

For a direct link to the Covax SD twitter bot, click here

Credit: Andre Le

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