VaccineFinder: Scaling for a pandemic

Megan Danielson
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Mar 8, 2021

VaccineFinder: Scaling for a pandemic

Megan Danielson

Guest

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Guest

Mar 8, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Boston Children’s Hospital have redesigned VaccineFinder to help individuals locate providers who have doses of COVID-19 vaccine in stock. When they needed maps to scale to meet this unprecedented national challenge, they turned to Mapbox. 

“The idea is to provide a source of truth on where the vaccine supply is in communities across the country. Through this collaboration with Mapbox, we created a user-friendly jumping off point for people to figure out where to go and at least reduce one step in people's search for vaccine” - John Brownstein, Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital

The online tool helps users find vaccine providers within a specified radius of their zip code and quickly determine if vaccines are in stock. VaccineFinder displays federally enrolled vaccine providers and their location details, including contact information, location hours, and vaccine availability for each site, though users still need to check their local eligibility requirements and schedule an appointment.  VaccineFinder also allows providers to report up-to-date information about their vaccine supplies to the CDC. 

VaccineFinder helps Americans locate COVID-19 vaccines

The website, which launched on February 24, currently shows a limited number of vaccine providers in Alaska, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, NewYork State (excluding New York City), Utah, and Oklahoma, with plans to include additional providers registered with the CDC in the coming weeks. 

Scaling for a pandemic

VaccineFinder has been helping individuals locate vaccines for over a decade. The original website was developed in response to the H1N1 flu outbreak. Since then, the team at Boston Children’s Hospital grew the platform by working directly with vaccine providers - including pharmacies, hospitals, and clinics - to help patients find information about flu shots and other routine immunization services. Boston Children’s Hospital and the CDC enlisted the help of Mapbox and Castlight Health to redesign the website, which is now completely dedicated to the COVID-19 response effort. The new website displays federally enrolled vaccine providers and allows providers to report back information about vaccine supplies to the CDC. 

“For the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to fully rebuild our technology to handle the data complexities of the rollout. The partnership with Mapbox allowed us to respond to the incredible challenge of a national platform that could scale to meet the widespread need for reliable and timely information on vaccine” - John Brownstein, Chief Innovation Officer, Boston Children’s Hospital 

Redesigning the platform during a global pandemic was an unprecedented undertaking. When the team needed location tools that could scale, and fast, they turned to Mapbox for high-performance services that can reliably handle national demand so that the team at Boston Children’s Hospital can focus on the data infrastructure behind the map. In preparation for the launch, the Mapbox team dedicated hours of support to advise on site architecture and increased rate limits to ensure that millions of people across the country can seamlessly locate vaccine services at the same time.

What’s next? 

Boston Children’s Hospital has partnered with Mapbox since the beginning of the pandemic on projects such as outbreaksnearme.org, global.health, and now vaccinefinder.org. We will continue to support the VaccineFinder team with new features and improvements, alongside the hundreds of other COVID-19 related projects that have been built and scaled with Mapbox tools. If you are building solutions for public health or pandemic recovery, connect with us.

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