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COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution … Maps can help

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

Everyone is talking about COVID-19 Vaccine … Recently, multiple vaccines have came to light, and many countries are talking about scheduling vaccination process for citizens. Accordingly, there are wide hopes that finally, world will get over this COVID-19 pandemic.

However, there is a challenge for the world counties … Vaccine distribution among millions of people is not an easy task. Vaccinating a whole nation requires good planning, execution, and monitoring in order to ensure the efficiency of this massive process…. And that is where Maps can help.

Therefore, in this article, we will present two main items:

  • Rules and standards for COVID-19 Vaccine distribution
  • How GIS Technology is used to support this distribution process

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Phases

Worldwide, it is agreed that vaccines will be distributed according to certain priorities. US Department of Health and Human Services issued “COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations” which explains the distribution phases as follows:

Phase 1: Potentially limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses available

Concentrate efforts on reaching the initial populations of focus for COVID-19 vaccination. That includes healthcare personnel (Phase 1 A). Then, non-healthcare essential workers, adults with high-risk medical conditions, and people 65 years of age and older (Phase 1 B).

Phase 2: Large number of vaccine doses available

Focus on ensuring access to vaccine for all critical populations who were not vaccinated in Phase 1, as well as for the general population; expand provider network.

Phase 3: Sufficient supply of vaccine doses for entire population (surplus of doses)

Focus on ensuring equitable vaccination access across the entire population. Monitor vaccine uptake and coverage; reassess strategy to increase uptake in populations or communities with low coverage.

Using GIS Technology

In order to set a good plan for the above vaccine distribution phases, we need to answer questions like:

  • Where are the targeted population segments for each phase?
  • Where are the qualified facilities that can serve as COVID-19 vaccine distribution centers?
  • Which regions are covered by each vaccine distribution center?
  • How many doses should be availed in each center to meet the demand (quantity of needed doses) inside the regions served by this center?
  • How to deliver the vaccines to these centers?
  • Then, how to deliver the vaccines for the areas far from distribution centers?

Good news … GIS technology can support authorities during the whole vaccine distribution process. The following is an example for using Esri ArcGIS capabilities for vaccine distribution.

Study Demographics

The dashboard below shows the use of demographic data to divide population into four segments to match the four phases (1 A, 1B, 2 & 3). Accordingly, the authorities can visualize the geographic distribution for population of each segment, and the size of this segment. This answers the first question mentioned above.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution GIS Maps 1

This map is a zoom-in.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution GIS Maps 2

You can access the above map here:

COVID-19 Vaccine Sites

The dashboard below shows the locations of facilities such as hospitals (blue circles) that are qualified to be vaccine distribution centers (that can be based on criteria that as size, capacity, equipment, staff…).

The map also shows the population (blue & red dots) as census tracts. Using spatial analysis, we identify the population tracts that are covered by vaccine distribution  service (blue) and those which are out of service coverage (red). Additionally, each covered population tract is linked to the nearest center (considering center capacity).

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution GIS Maps 3

When selecting a facility (example below), we can see the assigned cases for that center.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution GIS Maps 4

You can access the above map here:

Uncovered Areas:

Next step is to think about un-covered areas that are far from existing centers. Authorities can decide to establish a new center of even use a temporary mobile center. Therefore, question is where to set that new center? GIS analysis can help in answering what-if scenarios. For example, the simple application below allows authorities to select a new location, and estimate the population that would be covered with this proposed center.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution GIS Maps 5

You can access the above map here:


One of the famous analyses in GIS is network analysis. This is where we calculate the route between two (or more) points. Authorities can utilize that to find the routes for vehicles that will transport the vaccines to distribution centers across the country.

GIS Routes 6

Guide people

Authorities can help people by guiding them to the nearest vaccination site to their location.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution GIS Maps 7

You can access the above map here:

Monitor the process

Finally, during the vaccination process, authorities need to monitor the different activities. While each vaccination site reports the progress, authorities can monitor the current vaccine inventory at each site. That allows them to take actions in time, in order to maintain an efficient process.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution GIS Maps 8

You can access the above dashboard here:

More maps can be accessed here:

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