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Google Maps Now Displaying COVID-19 Vaccination Locations in Certain States

Google maps vaccine finder.

Courtesy of Google

Key Takeaways

  • Google searches for “vaccines near me” have increased five-fold since the beginning of the year.
  • The company is working with VaccineFinder.org, a site from Boston Children’s Hospital, that helps connect people with resources to find vaccination locations.
  • Google committed $150 million to COVID-19 vaccine education and equitable access. 

Google announced a new vaccine finder initiative on January 25 that will allow users in certain states to find local COVID-19 vaccination sites with the help of Google maps and search. The initiative hopes to increase access to information about vaccination site locations, eligibility requirements, whether sites include drive-throughs, and whether appointments or referrals are required.

The vaccine site information is now available in Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Georgia. The company also said it has expanded access to information panels with accurate information about vaccines to more than 40 countries, translated in dozens of languages so far. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected every community all over the world,” Sundar Pichai, chief executive officer of Google and its parent company, Alphabet, wrote in the announcement. “Getting vaccines to billions of people won’t be easy, but it’s one of the most important problems we’ll solve in our lifetimes. Google will continue to support in whatever way we can.”

In addition to increasing vaccination location information, the company committed $150 million toward promoting vaccine education and distribution.

What This Means For You

Information about where to receive a vaccine, your eligibility, and other logistical information is now available on Google’s Maps and search features in six states with more to come soon. Google says its information is being vetted by authoritative sources like Boston Children’s Hospital and the CDC, and sites will be able to directly update information about vaccine supply, hours of operation, and eligibility requirements.

Finding COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

Searches on Google for “vaccines near me” increased five-fold since the beginning of 2021. Still, with a slow vaccine rollout, some states and regions are lacking a reliable system to help people locate and make use of vaccine sites.

Many communities have taken matters into their own hands. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, more than 13,500 people participate in a Facebook group where information is shared about vaccine access, statuses about the length of wait times at testing sites, and updates for the area. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, a woman created her own online system to help people sign up for available vaccine appointments.

To help create a more reliable national information system, Google is partnering with VaccineFinder.org, a project from Boston Children’s Hospital.

“Vaccination center information is sensitive and it could change frequently, so our approach is to work directly with organizations like VaccineFinder, who are sourcing information directly from public health departments,” a Google spokesperson tells Verywell.

VaccineFinder.org began in 2012 as a resource for people looking to receive the flu and other routinely recommended vaccinations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the team began working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build a system to connect people with vaccine appointments and information about eligibility criteria.

Kara Sewalk, MPH, the program director for VaccineFinder.org, tells Verywell that sharing resources with Google allows the group to expand its reach and get information to as many people as possible.  “The greatest benefit of working with Google is increasing access to vaccinations,” Sewalk says.

The team created a system of information from government agencies, healthcare institutions, and public health care departments including retailers like CVS and other pharmacies that are administering the vaccine. As soon as there is new information about factors like the quantity of vaccine, appointment availability, and eligibility requirements for each site, it is up to that site to update its information.

Sewalk says her team has information about vaccine locations in 64 Immunization Information System jurisdictions spanning the U.S. states and territories, though not all have chosen to make their information publicly available yet. She says she is hopeful that there will be much more site-specific information available both on VaccineFinder.org and on Google Maps and search soon.

“There are a lot of complexities involved with the rollout, especially with a national vaccine locator,” Sewalk says.

One challenge is that there simply isn’t enough vaccine in many places for the people who are seeking vaccination appointments.

“We really want this to be the most useful tool that it can be, and really want to make sure that folks that are eligible to get the vaccine know where they can go,” Sewalk says. “But right now, we’re facing a supply issue—there just aren’t enough vaccines.”

Other Google Initiatives

The company says it will also launch an initiative called “Get the Facts” to share authoritative information about the vaccine to the public through Google and YouTube. And it will open vaccination clinics in Google spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area; Los Angeles; Kirkland, Washington; New York City, and possibly beyond. 

Google's earlier efforts to promote public health during the pandemic included providing ad grants to government agencies and global non-government organizations who are working in the advancement of health education and outreach. In the announcement, Google said it would give an additional $100 million in ad grants to the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and other global nonprofits, as well as $50 million to public health agencies reaching “underserved communities.”

“Funding will support organizations that have a proven track record of providing accurate and trusted public health information at either a national…or global level, with a particular emphasis on disproportionately affected people and populations,” the Google spokesperson says.

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  1. Google. How we’re helping get vaccines to more people. January 25, 2021.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contacts for IIS Immunization Records. Updated June 7, 2019.