DENVER — In about a week, a Coloradan was able to use his computer skills for the greater good by creating a tool to help everyone find COVID-19 vaccine appointments across the state.
"I started to sort of play around in my free time after work and figure out what was possible, and it was sort of a fun puzzle to solve in order to figure out how to get this information from all these pharmacy websites," said Nick Muerdter, a computer programmer.
His final creation is a website called "Colorado COVID-19 Vaccine Finder."
Muerdter said he had heard complaints from his colleagues about the difficulty of finding COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
"I was trying to find a vaccine appointment for my mom, who is in that 70 plus category, and it was just kind of confusing," said Kate Anderson, a colleague. "I know Nick is amazing from having worked with him for all these years, but even then, I was impressed. I think he had the first prototype running the next day after I mentioned it."
Currently, Muerdter's website is able to pull appointment information from CVS, Walgreens and Safeway locations across the state. He said his goal is to pull more appointment information from other pharmacies in the near future.
"The website is still in its initial phase," Muerdter said.
On Monday, Gov. Jared Polis praised the website on Facebook. A spokesperson released the statement below.
“The Governor loves innovation and was so excited to see the work that Nick did to put multiple vaccine appointment opportunities for people 65 and up in one convenient place. People powered innovation to ensure we can get as many Coloradans vaccinated as possible, is greatly appreciated as this is an all hand on deck effort. When Coloradans have good ideas, the Governor celebrated and promoted them.”
The website is supposed to refresh every couple of minutes with the latest appointment availability. Muerdter noticed appointments in the metropolitan areas go fast.
"They come and they go within a span of five minutes," Muerdter said. "Obviously this doesn't solve everything, but if it can be one small part, then, I mean, that's what makes me happy."