We’re finally in the vaccination phase of the COVID-19 pandemic even as cases and numbers keep rising. This is a pretty important part of dealing with the virus of course and so Google is investing its resources towards “helping get vaccines to more people”. They announced that they are giving more than $150 million to help promote vaccine education and equitable distribution. They are also working on adding local vaccination sites on Google Search and Maps. They will also be opening some of their facilities to serve as vaccination clinics.
Google said they are adding $100 million in ad grants to help the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and nonprofits in running critical public service health announcements through their Ad Grants Crisis Relief program. They will also be investing $50 million more in helping agencies reach underserved communities, which are the areas needed to be reached by vaccine-related content and information. The focus of their current efforts will be on bringing “equitable access to vaccines”. They’re also committing $5 million in grants to those that are addressing racial and geographic disparities when it comes to vaccinations.
Just like how Google Search and Maps incorporated COVID testing centers, they are now working on putting COVID-19 vaccination locations in the apps. They are rolling it out first in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas but they will be adding more states and countries soon. Not only will you see places near you, but there will also be details like if you need to set an appointment or referral or if it has a drive-through facility. Google is working with partners to gather vaccination location information.
Google is also making some of its facilities like buildings, parking lots, and open spaces available for vaccination efforts in the U.S. They are partnering with One Medical and public health authorities in Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, Kirkland in Washington, and New York City. Lastly, Google Cloud is also helping various groups in using innovative technologies like AI to speed up the delivery of vaccines. This includes offering support to healthcare organizations, retail pharmacies, logistics companies, and public sector institutions.
Google has not given a timetable as to when vaccination locations will be added to Google Search and Maps. They will also soon launch a “Get the Facts” initiative on Google and YouTube to combat misinformation about vaccines and bring “authoritative information” to the public.