A Valuable Hack To Finding A Coronavirus Vaccine Appointment

Are you a vaccine seeker in that final phase? Finding an appointment is a pain, but our own Joel has tips to share!

UPDATE – As of April 9, Missouri is now in Phase 3, allowing all adults 18 and over to make vaccine appointments.

You know that feeling of trying to buy an in-demand, highly sought after item only to have it magically disappear from your cart during the checkout process? I’m looking at you, PS5! Well, this process will feel frustratingly familiar.

Kansas suddenly skipped to its final vaccine phase on March 26. Missouri gave citizens a bit more time to prepare, pointing towards April 9. As a last phase Kansan, I was lucky enough to score an appointment during that first week, but the process was not without its headaches. Here are my tips for my fellow last phase peeps in the KC Metro.

  1. If you have medical insurance, have your card ready. Pictures of the card’s front and back on your device would be a smart move.
  2. Know your schedule three weeks out. If you’re booking a two-dose vaccine, you may be asked to make your second appointment now. This is great, because you are NOT gonna wanna go through this process again!
  3. Skip the CDC’s Vaccine Finder or Missouri’s unwieldy map. The former only provides a yes/no about inventory, not appointments. And the latter just looks like a headache.
  4. Follow @kcvaccinewatch on Twitter. This account is a lifesaver!

The account is a bot that monitors vaccine sites for new appointments! It automatically posts the state, location, dates, zip code, a URL, and time of update. The account also updates when all appointments at that specific location have been booked.

Only 14 minutes elapsed between these tweets. Appointments get booked QUICKLY, particularly on the Kansas side of the state line. Because at least for the next few days, Kansas entered its final phase while Missourans are waiting for theirs to begin. At the moment, Missouri appointments are booked much more slowly. But that will likely change on Friday when MO starts Phase 3. How can you succeed when these appointments vanish so quickly?

5. Use the ‘Notify’ option on the Twitter account.

kcvaccinewatch twitter notifyThis way you’ll instantly see notifications on your phone or in your browser when the feed updates. However more quickly you can find these links than other vaccine seekers, the more likely you’ll be able to book an appointment. But remember the online shopping experience! Those entry forms take time, and an appointment may vanish by the time you hit submit.

If I remember correctly, I enabled that Notify feature Wednesday morning. By that afternoon, I secured first and second appointments for my wife and myself! But I went through three or four attempts before hitting paydirt.

And that’s it! Hopefully you find relatively easy success and few headaches.

And on behalf of all in KC, the biggest of thank yous to Peter Carnesciali! He’s the software engineer and KC do-gooder who designed @kcvaccinewatch. Who knows how many people his work may have helped to access vaccines when this is all said and done! Every part of the country should be lucky enough to have someone like Peter helping his neighbors.

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