Vaccine Hunters Canada founder reflects on grassroots effort to get people COVID-19 shots

Andrew Young has a deep appreciation for kindness, viewing it as a form of universal currency.

“Free to receive and most importantly, free to give,” he told Global News.

In this case, it was kindness manifested through digital means. Young is the founder of Vaccine Hunters Canada.

It was in mid-March and while trying to book appointments for his mother and father, he recalled coming across the American site, VaccineHunter.org.

Read more:
Vaccine Hunters Canada to wind down operations by Aug. 31

In the end, Young was successful in his search. However, it was something he witnessed at the clinic while with his father that he said really got him thinking.

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“I noticed people standing outside the entrance, waiting for something, and it was only afterward that it clicked that they were waiting for leftover doses,” he said.

He credited being able to land those appointments in the first place to an affinity for technology.

Young said he remembered the American site, and realized there was a need on this side of the border. He purchased the domain vaccinehunters.ca, and set up a Discord chat server.

READ MORE: Vaccine Hunters Canada volunteers working to eliminate booking appointment barriers

The Twitter page launched less than five months ago, and it now has close to 256,000 followers.

It took little time for Vaccine Hunters Canada to become a go-to destination, gaining around 100 volunteers — all dedicated to connecting people to vaccination appointments.

While director Sabrina Craig says they don’t currently have any numbers detailing how many Canadians they have helped, they have received a great deal of gratitude.

The group has received praise from the Prime Minister, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, and partnered with the City of Toronto.

And come August 31, Vaccine Hunters Canada will wind down its social media activity, pivoting toward newly launched automated search tools known as Find Your Immunization and Vaccine DIY.

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Vaccine Hunters Canada founder Andrew Young, opens up about how he came up with the search tool that has become a go-to for Canadians.


Shallima Maharaj, Global News

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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