DENVER (CBS4) – Millions of Coloradans will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in the next month. Various resources are available to help with registration, but many still struggle to make an appointment. Governor Jared Polis notified Coloradans of a new Twitter account to connect people with vaccine resources: @COVaxAlerts.
In a tweet posted on Thursday, Polis wrote, “@JaredPolis: Thank you very much to David Witten, who is 65+ in Denver / Aurora and who set up this Twitter account @COvaxalerts to help them and others know about and to arrange the highly effective and safe vaccine. “
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Many thanks to David Witten, who is over 65 years old in Denver / Aurora and who set up this Twitter account @COvaxalerts to help them and others learn about the highly effective and safe vaccine and make appointments
– Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) February 26, 2021
Polis again commended @COVaxAlerts during a press conference on Friday: “There are several great people who have put together automated ways to look at this. I linked a COVID Vaccine Finder. There’s also a great new Twitter account. It’s @COVaxAlerts. You can log in every few moments and get every vaccination alert in Colorado. “
David Witten, the creator of @COVaxAlerts, is a 20 year old student. He started programming in 9th grade and is now studying programming at Stanford University. Before creating the account, Witten looked for ways to help his family in Colorado.
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“My relatives in Denver told me it was difficult for them to get vaccinated. These are my uncle and aunt, both over 65 years old. It was very important to me to help them with the vaccination, ”said Witten. “Last weekend I sat down and created a website where people in Colorado can find vaccines. It turned out that such a website already existed and, frankly, was better than mine. I quickly created a twitter bot that notifies users directly. “
Within a few days, @COVaxAlerts gained over 1,800 followers. With the help of an internet bot, the account publishes vaccination openings every minute of the day. Witten asks Twitter to activate their notifications for the account so that they know about new vaccination slots the moment they are available.
“Instead of waiting on a website for a slot to open and everyone to log in, it comes straight to them. They know the clinic to go to. You know the address. You know the URL right away. You don’t have to wait on a website, ”said Witten.
@COVaxAlerts has become more popular since Polis shared the account with Coloradans. A tweet listing an open slot posted two minutes ago could already be full, especially if more people are eligible.
“I am always actively developing it. I’m working on adding new clinics in Colorado. I’m working on possibly trying new states, but that may be further in the future. Right now, I really just want to make sure it works well, ”said Witten. “It’s such a rewarding experience and I’m really looking forward to continuing to work on it.”
According to Witten, inspirations for this project include TurboVax, a service that keeps New York City residents informed of vaccination appointments, and a creative from his home state of Maryland.
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Follow @COVaxAlerts on Twitter to find out more about Colorado’s latest vaccine openings.