Google announced in mid-January new Google Maps and Search features to support the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign. The apps show vaccination sites and present more information about vaccines in the US. Apple is taking a similar approach to Apple Maps. From now on, Apple Maps will display the nearest COVID-19 vaccination locations and more relevant information about vaccines.
Apple announced on Tuesday that Apple Maps will incorporate COVID-19 vaccination location data from VaccineFinder, a free online tool from the Boston Children’s Hospital. The finder offers vaccine availability for the eligible categories at various providers and pharmacies in the US.
Users will be able to locate COVID-19 vaccination sites directly from the Search bar in Apple Maps by selecting COVID-19 Vaccines in the Find Nearby section. Asking Siri, “Where can I get a COVID vaccination?” would deliver similar results.
Siri also offers additional COVID-19 knowledge in the app, aside from providing information about nearby vaccination sites. The assistant can highlight outdoor dining options and list restaurants that provide takeout. Siri Audio Briefs offer the latest news and information about the pandemic.
As for the actual COVID-19 vaccination information, Apple Maps will offer placecards for the chosen vaccine site that includes all the information users will need, like the operating hours, address, phone numbers, and a link to the provider’s website.
Apple Maps will show some 20,000 vaccination locations initially, but more sites will be added as time goes by. The functionality will only cover the US at this time.
The vaccination campaign is ramping up in the US, with more people having access to vaccines. The vaccine supply is expected to rise significantly in the coming weeks, with Dr. Anthony Fauci explaining recently that most adults will find a vaccine in May or June. The Biden administration has directed states to make all adults eligible for the vaccine starting May 1st. Fauci also said recently that more locations will be opened soon to increase daily vaccination rates.
Apple also explains that third parties, including healthcare providers, labs, and other businesses, will be able to submit information to Apple Maps about coronavirus testing and vaccination locations. They’ll have to use the Apple Business Register page to start submitting information.
Apple Maps already supports COVID-19 testing locations, with the feature being available in several international markets as well. The app also lists COVID-19 modules on business placecards that allow retailers to provide COVID-19-related information pertinent to their companies. Similar features exist in Google Maps.
Finally, Apple also has a mobility tool that offers a glance at how the pandemic is currently affecting the volume of people driving, walking, or using public transit, available at this link.