A coronavirus vaccine calculator figures out your place in the queue. Here’s how it works

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·3-min read
A new calculator lets you work out when you could receive a coronavirus vaccine dose. (PA/Omni Calculator)
A new calculator lets you work out when you could receive a coronavirus vaccine dose. (PA/Omni Calculator)

With the UK’s mass coronavirus vaccination programme under way, a new calculator could give you an idea of when you and your loved ones will be jabbed.

The Vaccine Queue Calculator lets Brits figure out how many people are head of them in the queue, and when they could be called to receive a dose.

With elderly people and those more at risk from becoming seriously ill with COVID-19 first to get their jabs, it’s a handy tool for the majority of the population to see the factors governing when they’ll be injected.

It has begun to receive a huge amount of attention, with nearly a million people using it on Thursday and a spike of traffic on Friday morning, according to its creator, Steven Wooding.

How does the vaccine work?

The tool is part of the Omni Calculator website, which has around 1,500 calculators used by 13 million people every month to help make sense of various topics with data.

In simple mode, users just enter their age and answer a few questions about their health.

A 28-year-old Yahoo News UK reporter is looking at the second half of 2021 to receive their jab, using the calculator's default parameters. (Omni Calculator)
A 28-year-old Yahoo News UK reporter is looking at the second half of 2021 to receive their jab, using the calculator's default parameters. (Omni Calculator)

The calculator then uses assumptions, like how many people are being vaccinated every week, to suggest when you might get a coronavirus vaccine.

In advanced mode, those variables can be adjusted, including the percentage of people who accept the vaccine.

How does the calculator work?

Wooding, a web content developer with a background in physics, programming and research, told Yahoo News UK: “I started by looking at the nine-point priority list released by the UK government.

“For each one, numbers were found to estimate the size of each population: how many people live and work in care homes; the populations of each age group; the number of frontline NHS workers; the number of extremely vulnerable individuals; those with underlying health conditions, etc.

“Then by answering the questions in the calculator, we can see which of the nine groups (if any) you fall into. Using the figures for each group, we can then estimate the range of the number of people ahead of you in the queue.”

In simple mode, the calculator uses a default figure of a million vaccinations a week.

Read more: The celebrities who've received the coronavirus vaccine

Deputy charge nurse Katie McIntosh administers the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine jabs to Clinical Lead of Outpatient Theatres Andrew Mencnarowski, at the Western General Hospital, in Edinburgh, on the first day of the largest immunisation programme in the UK's history. Care home workers, NHS staff and people aged 80 and over began receiving the jab this morning.
The calculator uses priority group data to calculate when people will get the vaccine. (PA)

“Obviously, though, we are not at that rate quite yet, so in the short term, the calculator will be a bit optimistic,” Wooding said. On 16 December, following the first week of vaccinations, it was revealed more than 137,000 people had been given doses across the UK.

“However, I think the calculator can be used to give people a relative idea of when they are likely to be called up to get a COVID vaccine.”

Eager users flocked to find their spot in the queue

After going live on Tuesday, Wooding and Omni Calculator saw a big rise in users.

“It brought almost a million people yesterday (Thursday), and today in the morning, we had such a spike in traffic... that it killed our servers,” Wooding said.

“It took us 10 minutes to ramp up the infrastructure.

“So yeah, it was a surprise. And the reaction is obviously very positive; everyone in the team is thrilled that others see value in our work.”

Click here to use the calculator.

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