Raise your hand if you’re frustrated trying to get an appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Atlanta resident Ben Warlick feels your pain and he’s created an easy-to-use text message based application to help others in Georgia who are also feeling frustrated.
Launched last month, Georgia Vax App already has more than 31,000 users in Georgia as of Feb. 1, Warlick said.
Although referred to as an “app,” there’s actually nothing to download. Users simply send a text message — such as the word “vaccine” — to 844-554-4024. You’ll receive a reply asking which county you live in and and what phase of the vaccine rollout you’re in. If you don’t know, simply type “NA”. When appointments open in your county, you’ll get a text with a link to the appointment site.
The service is free, though Warlick accepts voluntary payments on his website, saying the money will go to expand the work.
Warlick created Georgia Vax App after spending hours trying to book inoculation appointments for his parents and mother-in-law. An attorney with a background in engineering, Warlick created his own tech startup, Disco Droid, after creating an app to make it easier for the public to pull permitting data from county websites.
His first application was the Atlanta Tree App to help people get notifications about tree removal permit applications filed in their neighborhoods. He took what he learned in creating that app to create the Georgia Vax App.
“Instead of having to keep checking the vaccination websites every hour, I created a code that would check the sites automatically,” Warlick said. “Within 24 hours, I got a message that an appointment was available and my mother-in-law got an appointment at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”
The app launched with Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale counties, but Warlick is working to add more Georgia counties now. He also hopes to add private pharmacies and supermarkets like Publix and Kroger offering vaccines in the coming weeks.
For more about the Georgia Vax App and Disco Droid, visit discodroid.ai.
–John Ruch contributed