As the United States struggled with its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, one company remained determined to help connect qualified citizens with the elusive dose. Cyrus Massoumi developed the Dr. B vaccine list to reduce vaccine waste. Due to efficiency issues, healthcare professionals were required to administer all vaccines within hours of removal from cold storage or discard the doses. These undiluted vaccines required ultra-low temperatures for transportation and storage to ensure vaccine stability until administration.
Determining Quantities of Covid-19 Vaccines
As the United States unrolled the coronavirus vaccines, citizens booked appointments through online portals and scheduling software. Many vaccine sites quickly became inundated with hopeful individuals trying to secure an appointment for themselves or loved ones. Websites crashed under significant website traffic, causing further booking issues for those trying to grab an appointment time. Those able to book a vaccine often visited other platforms hoping to get an earlier appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Clinics pulled proper quantities of the vaccine from cold storage and began the dilution needed for administration. These daily vaccine doses added up to hundreds of vaccines a day for many clinics. As clinics prepared the proper quantities, many previously booked timeslots were left vacant—the result of cancelations and double booking. Clinic vacancies meant extra vaccines were prepared but unaccounted for, hitting nearly 30% of the daily totals.
How Dr. B Mitigated Covid-19 Vaccine Loss
Cyrus Massoumi believed that the COVID-19 vaccine should be available to as many Americans as possible instead of being discarded or thrown away. Unfortunately, the initial rollout was inequitable, further adding to vaccine shortages due to wasted resources. Without a national standby list, facilities could not connect with willing patients outside of private waitlists or individuals within the physical site. In trying to reduce wasted vaccines, Massoumi created Dr. B to help connect willing participants and clinics with vaccine availability.
The Dr. B Registration
Dr. B offered free registration for both sides of the vaccine administration: clinics with extra doses available and people scrambling to find an appointment. Interested candidates could register online with basic information, adding their names to the standby list. Users entered their name, phone number, ZIP code, employment details, and chronic health conditions. A clinic could register online (after rigorous verification methods) and enter daily surplus amounts into the system, along with the expiry of the medication.
The standby list was categorized according to priority, moving high-risk individuals to the top of the list. These included at-risk individuals and the elderly needing a vaccine but unable to secure an appointment.
When a clinic entered extra doses into the Dr. B website, qualified candidates within the geographic area were contacted through text message. These text messages indicated vaccine availability, along with the site location. Users could confirm the appointment directly from their mobile device, sending it directly to the clinic. If an individual could not take the suggested appointment, Dr. B contacted the next available candidate. Dr. B’s algorithm placed those declining the vaccine back on the waitlist at the bottom of their priority.
Was the Dr. B Website Successful?
The Dr. B website launched at the beginning of the vaccine rollout, during the height of vaccine scarcity. While most platforms would have gone to media and news outlets, Massoumi deliberately avoided this approach. Instead, he contacted leaders in underserved communities to improve vaccination rates for those with lower access to healthcare resources. The Dr. B platform launched quietly, targeting these at-risk communities first. Marketing efforts through Indian Health Service, NAACP, iHeartRadio’s Spanish-speaking channels spread the word of Massoumi’s platform. The website’s advance notice allowed communities to pre-register online before the public swarmed the website.
The End Result
As news continued to grow for Dr. B’s initiative, so did the number of registered clinics and individuals. By the time the website closed registration, over 2.5 million individuals registered for a chance to receive the immunization. Likewise, over 755 different clinics across the United States registered for the program – sending updates of extra vaccines to the database. At the time of closing the registration, Dr. B sent over one million text notifications of available COVID-19 vaccines to qualified candidates. This success highlights the standby system was highly effective within the healthcare industry.