Google Maps and Search will soon show COVID-19 vaccination locations in the US
Google has announced plans to get more involved with the fight against COVID-19, starting with adding vaccination locations to Search and Maps. The search giant said it will also turn select Google facilities, including parking lots and open spaces, into makeshift vaccination facilities in partnership with health care provider One Medical.
Google said searches for “vaccines near me” have increased 5x since the beginning of 2021. In the coming week, the company will begin to show state and regional distribution information on Search, so it’s easy to find where people are eligible to receive a vaccine. Google has partnered with VaccineFinder.org and “other authoritative” sources, including government agencies, to ensure it provides users with accurate information.
COVID-19 vaccine locations will be available in Search and Maps starting with Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. More states and countries will be added in the coming weeks. Details like whether an appointment or referral is required, if access is limited to specific groups, or if it has a drive-through will be included in the results.
Google said it’s also pledging $150 million to promote education and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. $100 million in ad grants will go to the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and nonprofits around the globe. $50 million will be invested in partnership with public health agencies to reach underserved communities.
“Early data in the U.S. shows that disproportionately affected populations, especially people of color and those in rural communities, aren’t getting access to the vaccine at the same rates as other groups,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Finally, Google said it also plans to launch a “Get the Facts” initiative across Google and YouTube in an effort to provide users with “authoritative information” about vaccines.
Since taking office on January 20, President Biden has committed to giving 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in the first 100 days of his administration. Google’s efforts can help that process along, with Pichai saying getting vaccines to people is “one of the most important problems we’ll solve in our lifetimes.”