While over half of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated, vaccine uptake is slowing across the country. Research shows a variety of factors are preventing people from getting vaccinated — from physical access issues, like transportation challenges and not being able to take time off work, to concerns about safety and side effects.
To help public health officials and researchers in the U.S. reach people facing these challenges, we’re introducing new tools to better understand the vaccination needs of a community. This builds on our work of providing data, insights and tools to public health, epidemiologists, researchers and policymakers since the early days of the pandemic.
Equitable access to vaccinations
For some people getting vaccinated is as simple as walking a few blocks to their local pharmacy. For others, it may be much more difficult and involve a long drive or navigating public transit. If public health officials, researchers and healthcare providers can identify areas where vaccination sites are inaccessible or hard to reach, they may be able to implement measures like pop-up vaccine sites or transportation support like ride vouchers.
Our COVID-19 Vaccination Access Dataset, which is available to the public today, calculates travel time to vaccination sites to identify areas where it may be difficult to reach a site whether someone is walking, driving or taking public transportation. We prepared this dataset using Google Maps Platform Directions API, the same API that powers navigation in Google Maps. This dataset does not contain any user data.
This dataset will help power a new Vaccine Equity Plannerdashboard from Ariadne Labs, a joint center for health systems innovation at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Boston Children’s Hospital, the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. . This dashboard integrates our dataset with data from other organizations, such as the CDC’s social vulnerability index, to identify “vaccine deserts,” or areas where people have little or no convenient access to a vaccine site, to inform interventions such as pop-up clinics or new sites.