For scheduling, program for Plus One

Disclaimers: The suggestion within this post may be primarily applicable to mass vaccination logistics, with initial swarm response.  Objective is not to find fault or lack.  Observations and thought process are the key discussion points.

Observation of County Public Health operation for COVID-19 vaccinations

  • Well laid out and fully staffed.
  • Several bays, allowing for multiple vaccinations delivered during one time-slot

Observation of appointment scheduling website

  • Initially designed to schedule only one person at a time

Experience as Social Work Case Worker, assisting with COVID-19 scheduling

  • People wish to travel together in groups of two and more
  • Some people have fear of needles (Trypanophobia), and find strength in going with others
  • Some people have assigned IHSS (In Home Support Service) workers or family members
  • Assisting with paperwork (filling out and printing) is a good means of securing a commitment

Prior roles which informed the suggestion

  • IT Systems Support Manager: Initial programming design is typically fields, records, individuals
  • Six Sigma Green Belt: Training in process improvement with an “end-to-end” awareness
  • Certified Hypnotherapist: Understanding of subconscious fears/phobias
  • MSW Social Worker: Person-in-Environment awareness (strengths, groups)

Ideal Outcomes

  • More people vaccinated in a given time
  • Facilitating the logistics of people being scheduled, who they go with, emotional/physical supports, etc

Suggestion for website scheduling interface

Note: Terminology my own, but premise is obvious

  • Schedule first appointment (and use as an anchor)
  • Ask if there are additional people to schedule at same day/time
  • Capture needed information and link with anchor appointment


  • Suggestion was well received by County Public Health for both first and second dose appointments
  • Now the system is managed by California Department of Public Health.  Not seeing ability to schedule “Plus One”.  Back to square one as of 20210513….
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