The event scheduling site of Eventbrite is utilized by Florida’s counties by numerous health departments in order to arrange the vaccination for the COVID-19 virus for the public. Officials assured The Verge that the website was the best way to get vaccines up to speed quickly and during initial roll-out, which was frustrating for citizens and inconsistent throughout the state.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed all people over the age of 65 to the front of the vaccination line alongside healthcare professionals and long-term care facility citizens off guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on vaccine priorities, which said critical workers should get first access.
That started opening access to vaccines for more than 4 million people in the state when supplies were still small, generating overwhelming demand. There was no national distribution network in operation. Local health services have been entrusted with developing their own vaccine delivery programs.
The Department of Health initially intended to use telephone lines to arrange vaccination consultations. But the first day the lines opened, people couldn’t get through to the number. Jesi Ray, a social media, marketing, and relations professional for the county, found that other places in the state were using Eventbrite.
“I said this is the way I think we should go,” she said to The Verge. “This is the only option we have right now, this is the easiest, quickest, and most efficient and effective way we can think of helping the health department solve this problem right now.”
Every vaccination position in the county for the first delivery of vaccine was taken within 24 hours of the launch of the Eventbrite.
Eventbrite was used by Manatee County officials as a method of easily distributing vaccines, said Christopher Tittel, Communications Director for the Manatee Department of Health. Emergency response officials have long been acquainted with the platform.
Eventbrite has performed well in Brevard County so far, Ray says. There was one small hiccup, however: every sign-up query was compulsory, including one asking if someone was pregnant or breast-feeding. A lot of people haven’t addressed the question. “Either they were male and assumed it didn’t apply to them, or they felt like I was 65, I don’t have to answer that, but in general, the report we got back from people was that it was easy.” The county is expecting to utilize this for the coming vaccination and believes that it will be working properly also.
A platform like Eventbrite (or any other online platform) is only open to people who have internet access. It’s most open to people who are smart enough to quickly navigate the site and take a spot until they’re full. By relying on these systems for the sake of pace, disadvantaged communities, and color communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 may be excluded.