Using Community-Engagement and Geographic Information Systems to Address COVID-19 Vaccination Disparities

Posted In: Reinforce and expand partnerships

COVID-19 vaccine education flyers translated into Korean at the mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic


Apply community-engaged geographic information system (GIS) strategies to increase equitable access for COVID-19 vaccination uptake by decreasing the structural barriers to COVID-19 vaccination with a particular focus on Asian American people with limited English proficiency (LEP) in West and Southeast Michigan.

Populations of focus

People who are Asian American in the State of Michigan


Community Welfare Services of Metro Detroit, Korean United Methodist Church, Korean American Cultural Center of Michigan, Philippine American Cultural Center, West Michigan Asian American Association, Thai American Association of Michigan, the Association of Chinese Americans, Asian Community Toward Innovative Visionary Environment (ACTIVE) Coalition


Building upon existing partnerships with academic and community-based organizations, the Center for Health Disparities Innovations and Studies (CHDIS) at Eastern Michigan University established community-led mobile and pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics to reach people who are medically underserved in their communities. Using GIS to visualize where priority populations live and by overlaying data such as vaccine completion rate, computer accessibility, health insurance coverage, and CDC social vulnerability index; CHDIS was able to identify pockets where people might have higher needs. These visualizations helped to prioritize planning locations for mobile clinics. CHDIS also worked with commercial pharmacies to reserve appointments for people with LEP and deployed trusted messengers to deliver culturally and linguistically appropriate COVID-19 vaccine messages.

Early Impact or Lessons Learned

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, mass vaccination sites had limited capacity to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly to those people with LEP. Using GIS and population data along with community engagement, CHDIS helped to improve accessibility and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination by deploying 163 trained bilingual trusted messengers working in 12 ethnic communities that provided 4,886 flu and COVID vaccinations to people in underserved communities.