When Los Altos resident Jason Lin and fellow Harker School students Helen Li, Claire Luo, Sara Yen and Bowen Yin started working on their COVID-19 vaccine tracker website, they were united by the common goal of better educating the public.
Lin said that’s why they created vaccineprogress.info – to enable people to easily access information about the progress of vaccination and herd immunity in the United States. It launched in January.
“We were searching for an easy-to-use platform that displays national and state vaccinations and progress to herd immunity,” senior Lin said. “But to our surprise, we couldn’t find any. We think our site offers a great resource for the public to keep tabs on vaccination progress.”
None of the team members had created a large coding project like this one before, according to Lin, and realized they would need to reach out to an expert to learn more about the pandemic and herd immunity.
They contacted several Stanford University professors of epidemiology, including Lorene Nelson, Ph.D., and Dr. Steven Goodman. They also used current U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data to ensure their information was correct and current.
“(We wanted) to make sure the site is medically accurate and represents our public health situation correctly,” Lin said.
Lin added that the project also may help people understand whether public servants are being honest and accurate about vaccine protection, and to help them better understand when their state would achieve herd immunity. He said he hopes this helps them feel more hopeful as the pandemic drags into a second year.
“A few weeks ago, I thought our vaccination situation was awful,” he said. “And it was a mess. But at the same time, 2.5% of the nation’s population had just been vaccinated. So it really wasn’t the end of the world. I think you can provide some hope, and it can provide some transparency for when someone will be vaccinated.”
A vaccine progress bar at the top of the site’s home page shows the progress the nation has made as far as vaccinations. The percentage required for herd immunity, 70-95%, is also marked. A map of the U.S. informs visitors about how many people are partially or fully vaccinated in their state, as well as what percent of doses has been used.
The site’s “About” section provides more information on what “herd immunity” means and how the team collected the data.