Absent Direction, Localities Using ‘Eventbrite’ To Schedule Mass-Vaccinations

Screengrab / CBS Evening News / YouTube

JakeThomas

Local health officials have turned to online event-planning services for the vaccine rollout, absent a national plan.

According to Axios, local health officials are using online services such as Eventbrite to distribute COVID vaccines in absence of a national plan or support from the federal government.

Millions of lives, along with the country's economic recovery, depend on a speedy and successful rollout of the vaccine. But as people hunt for scarce information about vaccine availability and delivery processes, the lack of coordinated communication risks opening an information vacuum — into which misinformation could easily pour.

In Florida, a number of counties are using events platform Eventbrite, a platform known for selling concert tickets and coordinating happy hours, to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

The news outlet also reported that “Some services like SignUp Genius are pitching their availability for vaccine scheduling, with counties across the country adopting them.”

Axios noted that this approach is particularly less-than-ideal for certain populations, including seniors who tend to be less technology savvy.

Local governments, already stretched by the crisis and reeling from Congress's delays passing the latest COVID-19 relief bill, often lack the resources necessary to manage vaccine communication and coordination.

Many have looked for help from both online providers and pharmacies, which tend to have better access to consumer data and are able to deploy information in a quick, personalized manner.

Chris Haynes, a political science professor at the University of New Haven, told Axios: "It is kind of falling on pharmacies. There hasn't been an app developed for federal or state governments to make sure the vaccine rollout was tracked. All of this stuff should've been planned months ago."

Historically, the federal government has established systems to help local governments deploy emergency information, like tornado and hurricane warnings that are broadcast on local television, as well as localized text alerts.

But the government hasn't set up emergency communication systems to convey localized information about the vaccine, forcing citizens to turn to less reliable sources of information online.

Almost all of the experts Axios spoke to said that the best way to tackle this problem would be through a massive, federal government-backed awareness campaign educating consumers about the importance of getting a vaccine and directing them to some sort of a federal directory with links to verified local resources.

Read the full report.

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