With 2.5M signups, vaccine waitlist service Dr. B is silent on how many users it connected to shots

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Since launching in March, Dr. B, a platform that matches Americans seeking COVID-19 vaccines with leftover doses so they don't go to waste, has recorded more than 2.5 million signups. However, the company has remained silent on the number of people it actually connected to shots, MIT Technology Review reported. 

Zocdoc founder and former CEO Cyrus Massoumi created Dr. B during the height of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, when appointments for vaccinations were scarce  for many Americans. Since Pfizer and Moderna vaccines must be administered within hours after being taken out of ultra-low-temperature storage, Dr. B sought to quickly connect individuals to vaccine providers where extra doses needed to be used up. 

The platform requires users to provide data including name, ZIPcode, birthdate, email, phone number, type of work and medical conditions like asthma or cancer. With that information in its system, Dr. B promises to scour the listings of vaccine providers nearby to find extra shots and then text the patient with a 15-minute window to reserve the vaccination appointment, according to the report. 

According to MIT Technology Review's May 24 report, the number of people who actually got the vaccine by using Dr. B's service is unclear. Karen Menendez, the moderator of a popular New York City Facebook group that serves as a hub for COVID-19 information, said she has seen discussions of Dr. B among the group's nearly 10,000 members but has yet to encounter anyone who got a vaccine through the company, according to the report. 

MIT Technology Review said it searched for weeks to find anyone who successfully got a vaccination through Dr. B but was unable to locate a single individual. The report's author, Mia Sato, said she heard from dozens of people across the U.S. who signed up for the service but only received notice of available vaccines after they had already been vaccinated elsewhere; many others told her that they were never contacted by Dr. B after the initial registration. 

In an interview with MIT Technology Review, Mr. Massoumi said Dr. B does not have nationwide coverage but has around 600 vaccination partners across 37 states. The company declined to disclose who the partners are or in which states it is active. And while Dr. B doesn't fall under HIPAA's privacy regulations since it does not provide care, Mr. Massoumi told the publication that Dr. B has strict privacy standards. 

"From day one we understood the importance of protecting users’ data and that is why we have developed robust policies and practices to keep their information private and secure. Our privacy policy makes it clear that user data is never rented, sold or shared with any third party inappropriately," he said. "As a completely opt-in service, users have the ability to permanently delete their data from Dr. B at any time." 

Click here to view the full report. 

 

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