The White House has deflected criticism of the issue, according to Deputy Press Secretary Kevin Munoz The edge that the failures were “only a small percentage” of the overall experience. Spokesperson Jen Psaki added: “We believe that every website has risks. We cannot guarantee there will be zero or two errors.”
But, as so often in this pandemic where government has failed, citizens have intervened via the internet.
Twitter posts from people wanting to donate tests surfaced almost immediately after the site launched, and some groups that have helped people find vaccination appointments over the past year have focused on helping people get tests . For example, the Maryland Vaccine Hunters Facebook group, which began crowdsourcing information about vaccine dates, is now posting updated information on where rapid tests are available and facilitating test donations.
Mutuals – community organizations that trade goods and services for people in need – have gone mainstream during the pandemic and are becoming increasingly active by offering protective equipment, helping people book vaccination appointments and, more recently, distributing tests.
One such group is Serve Your City, a Washington, DC nonprofit that works with the city’s homeless population. To find out who needs testing, Serve Your City referred to data collected by a hotline it set up to help disadvantaged people get vaccination appointments.
However, these crowdsourcing efforts come with a catch: they require reliable access to the internet. Maryland Vaccine Hunters has a robust Facebook thread of people willing to donate tests. But how can they help people who can’t get online?