Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 vaccine is top-of-mind for many Americans, and it likely will be for many months to come. Since distribution of the vaccine began in late 2020, there has been ample confusion regarding who exactly can get it, in addition to when and where.
This is not solely a COVID-19 issue — it’s yet another complex healthcare navigation issue.
To help solve it, we teamed up with Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on this important project to provide a way for Americans to be able to access information about where they can receive a vaccination. As a result, VaccineFinder.org is now publicly listing locations administering COVID-19 vaccines.
Currently, there are more than 20,000 CDC-approved vaccination sites searchable in the tool, and this number is growing quickly. For each one, VaccineFinder lists pertinent details as submitted by the provider or jurisdiction, which may include:
- Vaccine availability by manufacturer (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, etc.)
- Hours of operation
- Provider location website link
- Location-specific screener or appointment scheduler link
Launched in 2009, members of the general public have leveraged this free online resource for more than a decade to locate a number of different vaccines, including those for the flu, hepatitis, shingles, and more.
To aid the endeavor of expanding VaccineFinder to include COVID-19, BCH enlisted Castlight to build out the technology infrastructure that powers the solution with updated COVID-19 vaccine data (such as the details listed above). People from all 50 states will be able to find COVID-19 vaccine providers within a 50-mile radius of a specific zip code.
“The COVID-19 VaccineFinder will serve as a tool to help every American understand where they can access the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. John Brownstein, chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Our ability to leverage Castlight’s expertise in healthcare navigation and data analytics was critical in our ability to quickly stand up an easy-to-use solution to provide clear and reliable information for the public.”
Prior to developing the public-facing COVID-19 VaccineFinder, Castlight also built the COVID-19 Locating Health Portal, a vaccine platform for providers. All federally approved COVID-19 vaccine providers are required to log their up-to-date vaccine supply daily, as well as provider location details for public display. Eventually, this portal will be expanded to include non-COVID vaccines.
When creating both of these platforms, we focused on ensuring each was as easy to navigate as possible in order to further assist with increasing access to and distribution of the vaccine.
Castlight’s participation in developing the infrastructure and API for the COVID-19 VaccineFinder and the Locating Health Portal follows our continued commitment to helping people navigate healthcare decisions during this difficult time. At the onset of the pandemic in early 2020, we quickly built the first comprehensive nationwide COVID-19 Test Site Finder, which includes almost 18,000 sites and has been visited by 4.5 million unique visitors so far. We also created Working Well (a return to work solution), offered the Castlight Behavioral Health solution at no additional cost to customers, conducted proactive outreach to vulnerable populations, and developed an in-app vaccine navigation feature.
We are honored to be a part of a project so critical to the health and safety of millions of people, and we feel fortunate to have such strong partners in Boston Children’s Hospital and the CDC.