A suburban teenager is helping Chicago area residents book vaccines to receive the coronavirus vaccine, and he says that he’s simply doing it to “make a positive change” in the world.
Eli Coustan, 13, designed the website to be a simple and intuitive way for all area residents, especially older residents, to navigate the complex pathways to getting an appointment to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
After Coustan helped his grandparents set up appointments and get the vaccine, he launched the website, aiming to help others to do the same.
“I just realized that this system was messed up, and it did not work,” Coustan said. “You needed to have too many windows open, and the average person can’t do it.”
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The website, ilvaccine.org, is simple and easy to use. All residents have to do is select a county, and they will be helped in locating places where they can book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
“It also has availability information, which is something that the state and the city of Chicago’s sites don’t have,” he said.
One of the people that Eli’s website helped was Michelle Cruz, a middle school teacher who was able to get her appointment booked because of the website’s information. She logged onto the website Sunday, got an appointment for Tuesday, and is now volunteering to help Coustan to aid others in booking their appointments too.
“I was constantly shifting from one website to another. It takes so much time,” she said. “We need more Eli’s.”
Next on the agenda for Eli are two key improvements to the site: allowing for searches by ZIP code, and potentially allowing the website to be translated into other languages so that all state residents can use the site.
“What I do know is that I want to make a positive change on the world,” he said.