IOWA CITY, Iowa — When COVID-19 vaccines were hard to come by, many people turned to the Iowa Vaccine Alerts account on Twitter to find appointments.
Iowa City application developer Brian Finley created the Twitter account in early March when appointments were scarce and there was no centralized system to see what was available. On Monday, Finley announced he will be turning off the alerts. As vaccines have become widely available in Iowa, Finley says the service is no longer needed.
“It’s exciting to know that they’ve found a way to get the supply chain caught up,” said Finley. “I know that there’s still a segment of the state that’s still a little hesitant or concerned about the vaccine, but I feel like we’d all rather have it available than be where we were a couple months ago when people who wanted [a vaccine] were having no luck finding it.”
At its peak, the Twitter account had around 35,000 followers. Finley estimates it helped tens of thousands of people find access to vaccine appointments in Iowa.
“It feels great. It feels wonderful,” Finley said. “I’m really excited that we were able to get people vaccinated.”
Finley said he would reactivate the alerts if there is a need for the account’s services down the road. For example, if a booster shot comes out in the fall.
“Anytime the supply is outpaced by the demand, it takes a few minutes to fire it back up,” Finley said. “Hopefully the supply will be rolled out a little bit smoother this time. But if the ‘bat signal’ goes up and the syringe is in the sky, I’m ready to fire it back up.”