In our survey of various currently-active vaccine scheduling systems, we observed a number of trends. The below represents a summary of our findings:
Although the vaccine scheduling landscape is very fragmented, we observed issues that plagued systems across jurisdictions. (More at Common Challenges) Addressing these issues could improve the experience of COVID-19 vaccination scheduling nationwide.
Many jurisdictions did not follow the best practices of Site-Reliability Engineering, leading to excessive downtime and system outages (More in Outages and Downtime)
Form logic and other user interface concerns were similarly sub-optimal across systems. A common complaint we observed was the need to first enter duplicative information in every session, without being able to see appointment availability, only to find out that indeed there were no appointments available. (More in Common User Interface Issues)
Many jurisdictions did not offer a non-digital method of outreach. Even jurisdictions that staffed a call center struggled to provide a level of service that met the needs of their users. (More in Limitations of Technology)
We can help by summarizing our findings in a best practices playbook
Jurisdictions are rapidly trying to address the concerns that we observed, and each is independently trying to gather similar information. While there is some informal collaboration happening, a coordinating entity that could quickly disseminate information and best practices would allow jurisdictions to focus on implementation instead of market research.
We compiled a database that provides a summary of the current landscape of vendors and technologies used across jurisdictions to schedule vaccine appointments. For more information you can reach out.
Many jurisdictions are primarily focused on the immediate problems of vaccination when vaccines are scarce. USDS should address both immediate issues and how the problem space will evolve over the next few months.
In the immediate term, please consult the recommendations contained in this book.
In the short-term, jurisdictions can learn from one another, and share information more widely about their experiences
In the medium-term, jurisdictions can also consult our guidelines on equitable distribution to ensure they are mindful of this critical area.