Road to recovery: How Google Cloud is helping states get the COVID-19 vaccine to more people

Since the beginning stages of the pandemic, state and local governments have turned to technology to help deliver essential services to their residents, whether it’s unemployment assistance or access to COVID-19 testing. Now, state and local leaders are shifting their focus to getting vaccines to more people through mass vaccination initiatives. In February, we announced our Intelligent Vaccine Impact solution (IVIs) to help communities rise to the challenge of getting vaccines to more people quickly and effectively.

Many states have deployed IVIs, and have found it able to meet demand and easily integrate with their existing technology infrastructures. In some states and localities, we’re assisting with vaccine information, scheduling, distribution and analytics. In other states, we’re solving discrete issues like enabling data sharing and analytics from multiple vaccine sites or providing key metrics back to individual sites. Google Cloud is proud to partner with a number of states across the U.S., including Arizona, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, and the Commonwealth of Virginia to support vaccination efforts at scale.

Assisting Arizona in getting its citizens vaccinated
In December 2020, Arizona’s Department of Health Services engaged Google Cloud and our partner MTX to build an end-to-end vaccine management distribution system that would allow its 4 million citizens to schedule and receive a COVID-19 vaccine. In just a few weeks, Google Cloud built a centralized solution, provided information for a dashboard, that provides counties and tribes across Arizona with a consistent approach to managing and monitoring the vaccine administration process. And, with the help of predictive analytics, public health departments in the state can forecast the trajectory of the virus, as well as other potential infectious disease outbreaks. 

As of today, Arizona has administered 2.6 million vaccines, and the Google Cloud system has booked almost 1.5 million appointments. In fact, in the first two hours of the site launch, the system booked more than 150,000 appointments, proving the system was scalable to meet the demands of residents. 

Helping the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ramp up its vaccination efforts
In mid-March, Google Cloud signed on to help the Commonwealth of Massachusetts launch a new vaccine pre-registration system to help ramp up its vaccination efforts quickly. The newly deployed system enables residents to quickly complete an online form with their personal details, contact information, and eligibility criteria. The Commonwealth then provides a notification via text messages, e-mail, or voicemail to alert residents when they can book an appointment at nearest vaccination sites.  

This new pre-registration system eliminates the need for users to repeatedly search to find appointments throughout the state at vaccination sites. Google Cloud built out a waiting list that allows the Commonwealth to proactively provide notices and weekly status updates confirming that users are pre-registered. This provides residents with some peace of mind that they are properly registered. As appointments become available, the pre-registration system sends a link to book an appointment. Users have 24 hours to select their desired appointment time. If the appointment time is not reserved, the system will automatically alert the next resident in line. On day one of the state’s launch, more than 400,000 citizens pre-registered for their vaccine, and at the height of activity the site was registering 19 pre-registrations per second. 

Streamlining vaccine information for North Carolinians
In late January, North Carolina and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced they were working with Google Cloud to develop online tools to help North Carolinians determine eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine and then locate the closest vaccine provider. 

The Find My Vaccine Group site allows local citizens to answer a series of questions related to their occupation, age, and other risk factors to determine which vaccine group they are in. The Find a Vaccine Location site was deployed to help users find participating vaccine provider locations across the state. It uses Google Maps Platform APIs to enable users to search by zip code, current location, or current map view, and is updated regularly with the latest available provider information. To date, more than 2 million North Carolinians have leveraged both sites, with a major uptick expected as the vaccine rollout continues. 

Helping Oregonians increase vaccination rates
In February, Oregon prepared to increase the number of residents eligible to get vaccinated and needed a way to better communicate with its community. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA), in partnership with Google Cloud and SpringML, built Get Vaccinated Oregon, a vaccine eligibility screening and scheduling solution to help increase the vaccine rate in Oregon. Oregonians can now create an online profile for themselves and their families to determine eligibility for the vaccine, and receive push notification as their eligibility status changes. 

OHA and Google Cloud have also partnered with local healthcare providers who can now share information on mass vaccination events in their local communities. Eligible Oregonians in those communities will automatically receive a notification that there is an event, and they then have the opportunity to schedule a vaccine appointment. To date, more than 400,000 Oregonians have registered to receive communication about their eligibility, and get connected to local vaccine events.

Centralizing vaccine management for the Commonwealth of Virginia 
In February, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) launched its COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration campaign, Vaccinate Virginia. Initially, Virginia localities had implemented individual COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration data collection systems, providing little insight into priority groups and allocation strategy. VDH knew they needed an auto-scaling, resilient platform, and selected Google Cloud and partner SpringML to build it. VDH also wanted to import all of the previously collected data so any user from one of the participating localities could check the central site and find their information in the system. VDH needed everything built, tested, and ready in days—not weeks. 

Today, Virginia has 8 million residents and more than 1 million who are currently vaccine-eligible, either as a resident or an eligible non-resident who work in the state. On launch day, more than 180,000 pre-registrations have been successfully made, with that number increasing to more than 200,000 in the first 24 hours. More than 400,000 people were in the state’s system by the end of the first week it went live. By the end of February, the state had more than 1.9 million records in the new system, all managed with Google Cloud’s IVI. 

Getting back to a safe and healthy world 
Google Cloud is committed to doing our part to stop the spread of the virus and get vaccines to more people quickly. We’re continuing to work with state and local governments, public health officials, and healthcare institutions to provide the scalable, secure infrastructure, applications and services needed to support a safer, healthier future for everyone. We are looking forward to a day when everyone is vaccinated and COVID-19 fades into a distant memory.