Mission: To provide the U.S. public with a centralized resource they can use to search for appointments with approved COVID-19 vaccine providers.
Background: Initiated in response to the H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009 by a team from Boston Children's Hospital, VaccineFinder started life as a free, searchable map of H1N1 vaccine providers. Supported by a five-year, $12.7 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control, the tool soon was expanded to include a range of vaccines against other viral infections, including hepatitis, shingles, and polio. After COVID-19 emerged in the U.S. in early 2020, the team began to prepare for the eventual development and approval of vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease, and eventually partnered with Castlight Health, a San Francisco-based healthcare company that had already created a COVID-19 testing site locator. The revamped VaccineFinder is a free service that works with clinics, pharmacies, health departments, and other partners to provide accurate and up-to-date information about vaccination services nationwide.
Outstanding Web Features: Visitors to the site can enter their address or ZIP code and search to get a list of vaccine providers within a fifty-mile radius that includes contact information, current eligibility criteria, and, when available, a link to an appointment scheduler. Visitors to the site also have the option of narrowing down their search by vaccine type (Moderna, Pfizer, J&J) and checking to see whether a particular vaccine is in stock and/or available. After selecting a provider, visitors can review the provider’s notes on whether appointments are required, whether walk-ins are welcome, and its hours of operation. Although the site provides detailed information with respect to vaccine availability, visitors should be aware that the site doesn’t allow for the actual scheduling of vaccine appointments.