NUSADAILY.COM – JAKARTA – Google announced the initiative by providing more than USD150 million or around Rp 2.1 trillion to promote the education and distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We provide more than $150 million to promote vaccine education and fair distribution and make it easier to find locally relevant information, including when and where to get vaccines,” Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said on Google’s official blog, quoted Tuesday.
Reported from Antara, some Google facilities, such as buildings, parking lots and open spaces, will be available as vaccination clinics, with plans to open clinics in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Kirkland, Washington and New York City first, then expand nationally as vaccines become more widely available.
Pichai also announced Google will provide 100 million U.S. dollars in advertising grants to the CDC Foundation, WHO and other nonprofits.
The tech giant plans to invest $50 million in partnerships with public health agencies to help get information about vaccines to underserved communities.
“Our efforts will focus heavily on fair access to vaccines,” Pichai said.
“Preliminary data in the U.S. shows that disproportionately affected populations, especially people in rural communities. They do not get access to vaccines at the same rate as other groups,” he continued.
Google gave $5 million in grants to a number of organizations, such as the Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute, which focuses on addressing racial and geographic differences in vaccine access.
Expand vaccine information
Google is also expanding the vaccine information panel in its search results, and will begin displaying vaccine distribution information to U.S. states and regions in those searches, so people can check when they are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Google began rolling out vaccine information panels in searches last month in the UK, according to The Verge, listing information for standalone vaccines. The panel is similar to the knowledge panel used to share facts about COVID-19 and the location of the COVID-19 test center.
Google says searches for “vaccines near me” have increased fivefold since the beginning of the year. In the coming weeks, vaccination locations for COVID-19 will be available in searches and Maps for areas of Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and more states will be added soon.
Search results will include details on whether making an appointment in advance or a referral from a doctor is required, and whether any drive-thru options or vaccine access are restricted to specific people only.
Google says it is working with VaccineFinder.org, government agencies, retail pharmacies and other authoritative sources to collect data on vaccination sites.
“Giving vaccines to billions of people will not be easy, but this is one of the most important problems we will solve in our lives,” Pichai said. (mel)