Using the COVID-Vac Tool to Assess Your COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Staffing and Operations Needs

Anticipating staffing needs to operate large-scale vaccination clinics during a pandemic can be challenging.

The COVID-Vac tool gives clinic managers the ability to plan for staffing needs and run their clinics to maximize the number of patients who can be vaccinated during flow a 12-hour shift.

Key Features of COVID-Vac:
  • Optimizes staff allocation to seven clinic stations based on a few user-provided data inputs
  • Supports more than 1,100 different combinations of support staff, vaccinators, and client arrival rates to cover a wide range of vaccination site configurations

How COVID-Vac Works: Data and Results

To use COVID-Vac, enter data for staffing needs or availability and the number of individuals arriving at the vaccination clinic per minute (arrival rate).

Once entered, COVID-Vac uses this data to generate:

  • Staffing and optimal placement of staff
  • Average and maximum time individuals spend at vaccination site
  • Average and maximum number of individuals at the vaccination site and at each station

Numbers generated by this tool should not be considered predictions of what will occur while running a mass vaccination clinic. Rather, they are estimates of what could occur.

Getting Started with COVID-Vac

We recommend downloading and saving the COVID-Vac spreadsheet to your computer so that you can open the spreadsheet from your computer. This will allow the spreadsheet to open in Excel instead of your web browser.

Step 1. Download the COVID-Vac Tool and User Manual

COVID-Vac Spreadsheet (Excel)
COVID-Vac (v.1), A tool for planning COVID-19 vaccination clinics and mass vaccination sites
COVID-Vac User Manual (PDF)
User Manual: COVID-Vac (v.1)

Step 2. Load, Start, and Navigate

  1. Open the COVID-Vac spreadsheet.
  2. Click the box at the top of the spreadsheet that says, “Enable Macros,” or “Enable Content” (depending on the version of Excel being used).
  3. After enabling macros, click the “Start” button on the cover page to start navigating the tool.

If you encounter any issues, contact HEMU@cdc.gov with a subject line [COVID_Vac tool inquiry].

Entering Data into the COVID-Vac Spreadsheet

Once you have opened the spreadsheet, enabled macros, and clicked the start button, you are ready to enter data.

The peach-colored cells are for user inputs or data entry and are pre-populated with numbers. You can change the values in these cells by entering a new number or selecting from a drop-down menu.

The tool or spreadsheet provides pop-up boxes to help with data entry and interpretation.

  • Click on the yellow-colored pop-up boxes to read variable definitions and explanations.
  • Click on the red-colored pop-up boxes for information to help you interpret results.

Additional explanations are provided in the accompanying user manual.

System Requirements to Use COVID-Vac

COVID-Vac uses the Windows* operating system (Microsoft Windows 2010 or higher) and Excel (Microsoft Office 2013 or higher). Full functionality of the tool is supported in the desktop version of Microsoft Office® for Windows. Some functionality may not be available in Microsoft Office for Macs or in the browser version of Office 365.

*Microsoft Windows and Office are copyrighted products produced by Microsoft Corporation, WA. The use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Page last reviewed: September 9, 2021