Apple users can now ask Siri or search within Apple Maps to find nearby Covid-19 vaccination providers throughout the US, the app will also display important information such as operation hours, links, phone numbers to call for assistance, and more!
The company announced this week that it updated the Apple Maps app to include Covid-19 vaccination locations provided by VaccineFinder, one of the biggest resources currently being used by Americans to find a proper vaccine provider. VaccineFinder was initially developed by the Boston Children’s Hospital as a free service that provides the latest vaccine availability for those eligible at certain pharmacies or other providers.
Now, users of Apple Maps can use the search bar within the application to find these locations by simply clicking the “Covid-19 Vaccines” button under the “Find Nearby” menu, which typically provides the locations of nearby restaurants, gas stations, and other useful locations. iPhone users can also now ask Siri “where can I get a Covid vaccine” to see the information as well.
“The Apple Maps place card for each vaccine site will include the operating hours, address, phone numbers, and a link to the provider’s website, where Maps users can learn more about available vaccines and book appointments. The initial rollout includes more than 20,000 locations, with Apple adding more sites in the coming weeks,” according to Apple.
Besides just using data from VaccineFinder, Apple is using information that’s been collected from healthcare providers, labs, and other businesses that provide essential information regarding the pandemic. These establishments can also submit their information themselves through the Apple Business Register page; most businesses use this page when they’re first established so that customers can find them on their phones.
One Apple validates an establishment’s essential information about testing or vaccination locations, it then uploads it directly onto the Maps app so users can see them displayed immediately. Additionally, “Apple Maps now displays COVID-19 modules on the business place cards for more than 4,400 locations, allowing retailers to communicate COVID-19-related information to their customers, like special shopping hours,” the company announced this week.
Siri can also be used to find nearby testing and vaccination locations. The digital assistant can also help identify outdoor dining establishments and places offering takeout. Siri can also provide guidance and essential resources provided by the CDC if she’s asked “How do I know if I have Covid-19?”
Apple also recently announced the release of “a mobility data trends tool to support the impactful work happening worldwide to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This mobility data may provide helpful insights to local governments and health authorities, and may also be used as a foundation for new public policies by showing the change in volume of people driving, walking, or taking public transit in their communities. To learn more about COVID-19 mobility trends, visit apple.com/covid19/mobility.”
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.