A new Twitter account was launched on Wednesday to help Iowans find and schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments as they open up in real-time.
The account, called Iowa Vaccine Alerts, was created by Iowa City web developer Brian Finley and gives automatic updates on appointments from Hy-Vee, Walgreens, and CVS locations across Iowa as they become available. Finley, along with many other Iowans, became eligible for a vaccine on Monday and created the account after becoming frustrated with the difficult process of trying to schedule an appointment for himself and his family.
There’s no guarantee that a listed appointment will be available when you see it, so Finley suggests setting up alerts so you can be instantly notified when new appointments become available.
Since the account went live on Wednesday, it has already gained more than 10,000 followers—helping hundreds find and schedule vaccine appointments across the state.
While many are praising the account for allowing Iowans to successfully schedule vaccine appointments, some Iowa Democratic leaders on Thursday criticized Iowa’s Republican-run leadership, expressing frustration about the lack of government help in providing easy access to vaccine appointments.
“Getting a vaccine shouldn’t be like playing the hunger games. It’s just another example of a leadership vacuum,” said House Democratic Whip Jennifer Konfrst, according to a story by Iowa Starting Line.
“The fact that that is how Iowans are being forced to get vaccine information openings I think speaks volumes about the challenges that our state government has had in rolling out vaccinations,” said Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls.
“I’m happy that so many people are getting vaccinated, but we also need to recognize that there are also major equity and accessibility problems with the way this has been handled state- and nation-wide. Look around you, in your social circle, your community, your workplace, and think about connecting with someone who may need help getting an appointment scheduled or transportation to/from an appointment,” wrote Finley through the Iowa Vaccine Alerts Twitter earlier today.