Getting an appointment to receive your COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is not easy. There are not enough doses to go around and scheduling at locations of available doses are hard to maneuver, making the path towards vaccination chaotic and confusing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital and Castlight Health, has launched a new tool which allows Americans to search for COVID-19 vaccine providers with available stock.
The tool, which builds on the original VaccineFinder.org platform, will capture inventory data from vaccine providers around the country.
In most states, the initial launch is limited to certain providers who are getting their vaccines directly from the federal government. However, in Alaska, Indiana, Iowa and Tennessee, the tool shows all the vaccine providers — including hospitals, clinics, and public health vaccination sites.
“The idea is to show where COVID-19 vaccine providers [are] that are open to the public — how to contact them, how to book an appointment, and try to show the daily inventory status so people are clear where there’s vaccine and where there isn’t,” says John Brownstein, the founder of VaccineFinder and Chief Information Officer at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Browstrein said that he believes even more providers in more places are expected to join in the coming days and weeks.
This is not the first vaccine locator website. As the pool of eligible people has expended beyond health care workers and nursing home residents, many states and counties have developed lists or maps of their own to aid citizens in their search of a vaccine.
Those website generally showed which providers are administering shots. By contrast, VaccineFinder, doesn’t require manual input from volunteers. It gathers stock information directly from health care providers, who are supposed to report their inventory every 24 hours.
Vaccines to protect against COVID-19 are now available in limited quantity in the United States. Eligibility requirements vary by state. Check with your local health department to see if you are eligible to get the vaccine.