Dr. B  Lands in LA to Make Sure Extra Vaccine Doses Don't Go To Waste

Dr. B  Lands in LA to Make Sure Extra Vaccine Doses Don't Go To Waste

The shelf life of a thawed coronavirus vaccine is only a few hours, and expired vaccines have to be thrown out.

That inspired the New York-based startup Dr. B, the COVID-19 company meant to reduce vaccine waste created by ZocDoc cofounder Cyrus Massoumi. It's just arrived in Los Angeles, as the eligibility for vaccinations lifts next week.

Dr. B aims to reduce vaccine waste and the chaos that comes with it by matching vaccine providers with prospective patients within hours.

The company said it has secured three providers in the region so far.

To enroll in the waitlist, people have to sign up online at Dr. B's website and share certain health and geographic information to inform the site of local guidelines it needs to follow. When a free appointment pops up, one will receive a text notification. If they don't accept the appointment within a certain time frame, it gives the appointment to someone else.

Its test will come next week when anyone over the age of 16 can make an appointment.

Those using Dr. B would need to drop everything to travel to a vaccination site in a matter of hours. People with inflexible jobs or child care often don't have that luxury.

Already, a slew of community- and company-run sites are helping folks in L.A. find vaccine appointments, including Get Out the Shot and Find My Vax LA, run by recent college graduate Andrew Freidman. Health care startups like Carbon Health and Curative have made efforts to help people find vaccine appointments.

Dr. B's arrival also comes as the region's thinking on "cutting the line" for vaccine doses has shifted.

In February, when L.A. County began administering vaccines to health care workers those who lined up to see if they could score extra doses were often called "vaccine vultures" and chided on social media for not waiting in line.

But as more doses become available, the disdain some felt has faded, with the general consensus now shifting to use the vaccine, no matter what. L.A. County officials have urged health care workers to not throw away vaccines.


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Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.