UWindsor Together: Student Mental Health and Remote Learning Services
map indicating location of vaccine centreGeospatial data analyst Carina Luo created an app to help people locate pharmacies administering COVID-19 vaccinations.

App provides guide to COVID-19 vaccine pharmacies

Leddy Library’s geospatial data analyst, Carina Luo, is helping the Windsor-Essex residents identify vaccine pharmacies in their community.

Windsor-Essex is one of three regions in the province where people aged 60 to 64 can book an appointment with participating pharmacies to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

Luo, who provides geospatial services to the campus community through the Academic Data Centre at Leddy Library, wanted to help the COVID-19 efforts by identifying the location of vaccine pharmacies in Windsor-Essex.

Using geographic information system (GIS), she created an app that helps people to locate a COVID-19 vaccination pharmacy close to them.

“The app allows users to search for an address or click on the map to view pharmacies within a specified search radius,” said Luo. “On the result list, they can choose a particular pharmacy to see detailed information including address, phone number, operating hours, and website where people can book an appointment.”

Users can also review other data layers which contain demographic information at the neighbourhood-level such as the percentage of people aged 60 to 64, population density, and population income.

“Public health researchers, practitioners, and administrators can use this app to analyze the relationship between current vaccine sites with geographic distributions of target populations,” said Luo. “This will allow them to see if there are any service gaps that may help improve the vaccine distribution planning and implementation.”

All information published by the app is sourced from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, the Ontario government, Statistics Canada, and individual pharmacy’s websites.

Luo intends to update the app frequently as additional pharmacies and age groups are added to the vaccine rollout. She also plans to add new features such as an online survey to engage the public to share their vaccination experiences, and a crowdsourcing feature that allows pharmacies to submit their vaccination administration data — e.g., total doses administered at each site, current wait times, etc.

UWindsor researchers and students can connect with the Academic Data Centre to learn how to use GIS in their research. The library’s team of data experts can advise on the best approaches for finding and accessing geospatial data, creating maps, and conducting spatial analysis with data.

—Marcie Demmans