New Tech Helps Public Health Agencies Equitably Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine to Communities in Need
Developed by the University of North Texas, vaccination POD planning solution RE-PLAN powered by Juvare uses population vulnerability analysis to ensure hard-to-reach populations are included in mass vaccination plans
ATLANTA, March 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Juvare, the leader in crisis and emergency management technology, is adding to its support of COVID-19 vaccination efforts with RE-PLAN, a dynamic vaccination POD planning application that helps public health agencies ensure the timely availability of vaccines for communities in need. Using RE-PLAN, planners can identify local capabilities and resources in the context of available infrastructure and demographic data to determine how to move the COVID-19 vaccine from loading docks to arms.
"With the disparities in death rates and people contracting the coronavirus over the past months – oftentimes in underserved communities – strategic POD planning is of the utmost importance, and there is no time to waste," said Robert Watson, CEO of Juvare. "RE-PLAN can help identify those areas with an absence of health care services and resources and mobilize COVID-19 vaccination efforts quickly and efficiently – making the greatest impact for the populations most in need. This is invaluable as we work towards the eventual end of the pandemic."
Developed by a team of researchers at the University of North Texas, RE-PLAN assesses data from various sources to help public health agencies create response plans to use during an epidemic. These response plans include locations where medications or vaccines will be distributed, overlayed on top of socieo-economic and GIS data. The platform uses detailed population information to place resources and services in the proximity of people who need them – including those with disabilities, who do not speak English, or may not have cars.
"With time-sensitive COVID-19 vaccination efforts, it's all about helping public health departments understand where they need to put resources and how many resources they need," said Marty O'Neill, Director of UNT's Center for Computational Epidemiology and Response Analysis. "These decisions must be made with respect to the specific needs of the populations they're serving, so having access to the right data and being able to act on it is mission-critical in POD planning. In simple terms, not having access to a vehicle should not prevent a person from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine."
In addition to identifying which areas might need translators, transportation accessibility, or more vaccination clinics, RE-PLAN can also identify areas where there are high rates of uninsured populations. In regions where COVID-19 vaccinations are being distributed to physician offices, health agencies will need to understand how to make vaccines available to their uninsured populations who may not have a medical provider.
"It's about making vaccination plans equitable," continued O'Neill. "We're not going to successfully fight this disease if pockets of people are left out of vaccination plans."
Originally designed to create emergency response plans for bioterrorism events involving anthrax or smallpox, RE-PLAN has been used by the Texas Department of State Health Services and by Los Angeles and Orange Counties in California. Planners from all eight Texas DSHS service regions have expressed interest in using the system for COVID-19 vaccination planning.
To learn more about RE-PLAN, visit juvare.com/replan.
ABOUT JUVARE Juvare is a worldwide leader in crisis and emergency management software. Juvare solutions empower government agencies, corporations, healthcare facilities, academic institutions, and volunteer organizations to leverage real-time data to manage incidents faster and more efficiently, protecting people, property, and brands. For more information, visit www.juvare.com.
ABOUT UNT UNT is one of the nation's largest public research universities with nearly 41,000 students. Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT is a catalyst for creativity, fueling progress, innovation and entrepreneurship for the North Texas region and the state. UNT students earned 10,000 degrees last year from its 14 colleges and schools and the university offers 109 bachelor's, 94 master's and 36 doctoral degree programs, many nationally and internationally recognized.