Google is pledging to use its resources to help more people get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The company said Monday that it will convert some of its facilities into vaccination sites, starting in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City and Kirkland, Wash. Google intends to expand the program nationally and is partnering with One Medical in the effort.
Additionally, Google is taking steps to promote accurate vaccine information on its search pages and spending $150 million to support groups that are helping to inoculate people from COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected every community all over the world,” CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a company blog post. “It’s also inspired coordination between public and private sectors, and across international borders, on a remarkable scale. We can’t slow down now. Getting vaccines to billions of people won’t be easy, but it’s one of the most important problems we’ll solve in our lifetimes.”
Pichai said the company’s mass vaccination sites will be located at Google-owned buildings, parking lots and open spaces. The sites will be available to anyone who’s eligible for the inoculation, and Google is working with local officials to determine when they can open, Pichai said.
Beyond the in-person assistance, Google will put state- and region-specific information about COVID-19 vaccines on its search pages. Vaccine sites in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas will be listed in Google Search and Maps over the coming weeks, Pichai wrote, with more states and counties to follow.
“We’ll include details like whether an appointment or referral is required, if access is limited to specific groups, or if it has a drive-through,” he said.
Google has already helped more than 100 public agencies and non-governmental organizations make health announcements through its Ad Grants Crisis Relief program. Now the company is spending another $100 million on ad grants for the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization and various nonprofits, Pichai said. The company will spend another $50 million to target underserved communities with information about vaccines.
“Our efforts will focus heavily on equitable access to vaccines,” Pichai said.
Google is also helping with the complex system for distributing vaccines.
The company’s Google Cloud service has provided technology that logistics companies use to coordinate trucking operations. Google technology is also being used to help with pre-screening, scheduling and follow-ups for COVID-19 vaccines.
Google has developed what it calls an Intelligent Vaccine Impact Platform that states such as New York and North Carolina are using to distribute shots and forecast where more of them are needed, Pichai said.