The White House has rejected criticism of the issue, along with Assistant Secretary of the Press Kevin Munoz speaking The Verge that the errors were “only a small percentage” of the overall experience. Press Secretary Jen Psaki added: “In our opinion, every website carries a risk. We can’t guarantee there won’t be a mistake or two. “
But, as often happened during this pandemic, when the government failed, citizens got involved online.
Almost immediately after the launch of the site, posts by people wanting to donate tests began to appear on Twitter, and some groups helping people find vaccination dates last year turned to helping people get tested. The Maryland Vaccine Hunters Facebook group, for example, which has begun collecting information on vaccine appointments, is now posting the latest details on where to buy quick tests and facilitating test donations.
Self-help groups – social organizations that trade in goods and services for people in need – have become mainstream during the pandemic and have become increasingly active in offering protective equipment, helping people schedule vaccinations and, more recently, sharing tests.
One such group is Serve Your City, a nonprofit organization from Washington, DC that works with the homeless in the city. To find out who needs the tests, Serve Your City relied on data collected from a hotline it set up to help poor people get vaccination appointments.
Yet these costly efforts come with a catch: they require reliable internet access. Maryland Vaccine Hunters has a strong Facebook thread of people willing to donate tests. But how can I help people who can’t connect to the Internet?