Neapolitan Labs, a full-service web development, marketing, and advertising company based in Des Moines, recently announced that it has created a vaccine appointment and scheduling system for public health entities and other organizations. The system, titled “VANILLA”, is an appointment, notification, reporting, and management solution.
The idea for the vaccine appointment system first came when Pottawattamie County reached out to Neapolitan Labs last year to see if they could create a scheduling system for COVID-19 vaccines.
“We have been partners with Pottawattamie County for about a year working on digital solutions for the county,” said Brian McMillin, CEO of Neapolitan Labs. “Their public health department reached out to us last October and were wondering if we had the capacity to create something that could be used for vaccine appointment and scheduling.”
McMillin and his team worked with the county to put together a proposal and then had a couple months of testing between October and December, when the first doses of the vaccine began.
“I believe the first clinics in Pottawattamie County were Dec. 23 and 24 and were for the priority 1A group. The county’s public health department had identified the organizations they were going to reach out to and had a good idea of how many organizations they could work with given how many doses they were given. They then distributed a private link that we created for them to various organizations,” said McMillin.
McMillin says he would like to work with other counties in the state and that the company is currently working with Jones County in a similar capacity.
“Jones County Public Health Department is working with us to collect vaccine interest information,” said McMillin. “Basically users will be able to go the website and fill out who their employer is, if they live in the county, work in the county, have risk factors Then the county is able to sort those results, export them and send emails to people. So they’re using their own scheduling tool but are using our tool to collect, organize and communicate.
“We were a little hesitant to start doing outreach or promotion of this project until we felt like we had a really refined project put together for Pottawattamie County,” said McMillin. “Our hope is that we can work with other counties. Now that we know this works in Pottawattamie, which is a fairly large county for Iowa, I feel like we have a good product for other public health entities or really any organization that’s trying to schedule vaccine appointments.”
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