UB launches 'WNY Vaccine Hound' to help find COVID-19 vaccine appointments

Posted at 10:49 AM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 10:49:58-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The University at Buffalo has launched the "WNY Vaccine Hound," to help find COVID-19 vaccine appointments across Western New York.

The website can be found here, it lists COVID-19 vaccination appointment openings in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Niagara and Erie counties.

A group of human volunteers and automated web checkers find available COVID-19 vaccination appointments and provide a link to register for the appointment(s).

It was launched by faculty, students and staff from UB’s School of Management with the assistance of the UB Information Technology group.

"Although a handful of appointment generating websites have become common knowledge since vaccinations began, Vaccine Hound searches more than 100 local sites daily, looking for evidence of open appointments. Much like a retail aggregator helps locate hard-to-find products by pointing visitors to stores that have those items in stock, UB’s WNY Vaccine Hound volunteers search its large pool of potential vaccination sites, and point users to locations with appointment openings," a release says.

Officials say although the WNY Vaccine Hound finds the appointments, you must go through the process to register for the appointment.

“At a time when the vaccine is still relatively scarce while the number of people searching for vaccine appointments continues to rise, making an appointment can be stressful and frustrating,” said Natalie Simpson, PhD, who leads the Department of Operations Management and Strategy in the UB School of Management. “As a result, looking for an appointment may often seem like a taxing game of Whack-a-Mole, as opportunities vanish as quickly as they sometimes appear.”