There’s now yet another way you can find out where to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Apple has added vaccination sites to the Apple Maps app, and Siri is now equipped to answer questions about where to find the vaccine, too.
Apple is pulling the vaccine locations from VaccineFinder, a service provided by Boston Children’s Hospital, the company announced in a blog post. It’s the same service being used by Facebook’s vaccination hub. Right now it includes about 20,000 locations, with more being added in the coming weeks.
Using Apple’s vaccine-finding tool is as simple as asking Siri, “Where can I get a COVID vaccination?” Apple’s virtual assistant will pull up an Apple Maps view with a pin in each vaccine site, along with the provider’s hours, address, phone numbers, and website for booking information.
Though vaccination site information is fairly easy to come by in the United States at this point, Apple’s explicit inclusion of that info in its software will undoubtedly be helpful for iOS users. It’s just the latest in a long string of pandemic-curbing measures provided by Apple.
Siri’s been reading up — At this point, Siri (and, more largely, Apple’s operating systems) have been taught just about everything they need to help the public with navigating the pandemic-stricken world.
Right now you can ask Siri to help you find COVID-19 testing sites in 12 countries, including the U.S., Canada, Portugal, Singapore, Germany, Japan, and Australia. Siri can provide updates about which businesses in your area are open, so you don’t leave the house only to find the thrift store changed its hours to comply with local rules. Siri has also been well-trained in directing users to official resources about the virus itself — you can even ask her, “How do I know if I have coronavirus?”
Thank you, Apple — Big Tech has been very good about keeping consumers informed about COVID-19 measures and methods by which they can curb the spread of the coronavirus. Apple’s been leading the pack since day one.
Apple proved its commitment to public health very early in the pandemic by partnering with Google to create low-energy Bluetooth contact tracing protocols. Apple took swift action in closing its stores across the U.S. before the government had mandated it do so. And for almost a year now Apple has used Maps data to chart how well people are adhering to social distancing rules and other pandemic measures.