Google announced today in a blog post that it will be expanding the scope of its fight against COVID-19 by turning some of its offices into vaccination centers. CEO Sundar Pichai writes that the company will be donating up to $150 million to promote vaccine education and equitable distribution, as well as opening up Google-owned spaces for vaccinations “as needed.”
“While there is much uncertainty still ahead, the development of multiple safe vaccines in such a short time gives us reason for hope,” Pichai writes. “Now the work begins to ensure that everyone can benefit from this triumph of scientific achievement, and quickly.”
Specifics about which Google spaces, exactly — for there are many across the world — will be considered as vaccination sites are still unclear. The tech giant will be teaming up with healthcare company One Medical, as well as local public health authorities, to open sites in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and Kirkland, Washington. Eventually, Google hopes to expand this effort to a national level.
Google stands out amongst tech companies in that its commitments to curbing the COVID-19 pandemic have been re-upped many times over. There’s always more the company could be doing, of course, but we’ll take what we can get.
Expanding efforts — It feels as if we’ve been stuck at home for about an eternity, but still the pandemic continues to worsen — and while doing our individual part is important, it’s those in power who can curb the spread of the virus in more noticeable ways. Google isn’t the government, but its internet supremacy brings it pretty close to that level. The company’s latest commitments won’t be enough on their own to end the pandemic but $150 million is nothing to sneer at, with $100 million of that commitment going towards ad grants for the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and other nonprofits. The remaining $50 million will be used by public health agencies to reach underserved communities with vaccine-related content and information.
Google is also updating Maps and Search to include vaccine center information, Pichai says. The company is working with VaccineFinder.org, a subsidiary of Boston Children's Hospital, to bring those search results to everyone. Vaccine search results will show in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas to start, with more locations becoming available in the near future.
Thank you, Google — Google has been steadfast in its support of pandemic-fighting efforts since the onset of the pandemic. As misinformation about the virus spread with abandon, the company worked swiftly to ensure its platform was being used to answer questions with factual information. It also donated $800 million in cash and ads, paired up with Apple to create a new standard of contact-tracing technology, and added COVID information to its full suite of apps.
Google’s general focus here is on using its resources to ensure everyone has access to updated, factual information about the COVID-19 vaccine and its rollout. Seeing as vaccine-related conspiracies are still running rampant across the internet, that’s a very worthwhile effort indeed.