EXCLUSIVE: Blue Shield, Cogitativo team up to develop technology that could help determine who gets COVID-19 vaccine first
Those at higher risk could get priority and those factors could be determined right down to your zip code.
Berkeley based data-science company Cogitativo is about to make headlines in the vaccine world.
“It means deep thought, deep thinker,” said Gary Velasquez who translated his company’s name.
Velasquez is Cogitativo’s CEO, he’s been thinking for months about how to help those most at-risk get the COVID-19 vaccine first. His company is partnering with health care provider Blue Shield of California on an algorithm technology mixed with data to locate those most vulnerable if they contracted COVID-19.
“Vulnerability is defined as the probability of hospitalization, ventilator, ICU,” Velasquez said.
Using private and public health data, the algorithm can determine who is at high risk, right down to the zip code.
“We can tell you down to a five-digit level how many individuals are vulnerable to hospitalization that live in that five-digit zip code,” he added.
Here in the Bay Area, the numbers of projected hospitalizations are high. Data shows more than 50,000 in Sonoma County, 43,000 plus in San Francisco and more than 111,000 in Alameda County.
A person’s age and medical history are factored in and more.
“It incorporates a number of factors, the place where you live, the absence of pharmacies, food deserts in your area and air quality,” said former Blue Cross of California Chief Medical Officer Dr. Meredith Matthews.
The information could help counties pinpoint areas where the vaccine should be distributed first for those who want and need it.
Cogitativo is currently negotiating with the federal and state governments about a partnership.
Gary Velasquez founded his company long before COVID-19. He hopes the science can help those get the vaccine.
“I didn’t know we’d be dealing with a pandemic, it was the right place right time with great relationships,” said Velasquez.
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