Google will provide more than $150 million to promote coronavirus vaccine education and will open up Google spaces to serve as vaccination sites, the company announced Monday.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that the company has helped more than 100 government agencies and global non-governmental organizations since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
“Today, we’re announcing an additional $100 million in ad grants for the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and nonprofits around the globe,” Pichai said. “We’ll invest another $50 million in partnership with public health agencies to reach underserved commented with vaccine-related content and information.”
Pichai said the company’s efforts will “focus heavily on equitable access to vaccines,” saying that data in the U.S. shows that “people of color and those in rural communities aren’t getting access to the vaccine at the same rates as other groups.”
“To help, google.org has committed $5 million in grants to organizations addressing racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations,” Pichai said, including Morehouse School of Medicine’s Satcher Health Leadership Institute, as well as the CDC Foundation.
Meanwhile, in an effort to help with vaccination efforts, Google announced that, beginning in the U.S., it would make Google facilities—like buildings, parking lots and open spaces—available as needed.
“These sites will be open to anyone eligible for the vaccine based on state and local guidelines,” Pichai said.
In their effort, Google said it would partner with health care provider, One Medical and public health authorities to open sites in Los Angeles and in the San Francisco Bay Area in California; Kirkland, Washington; and New York City, with plans to expand nationally.
“We’re working with local officials to determine when sites can open based on local vaccine availability,” Pichai said.
Google’s move comes after Amazon, last week, announced it would open a “pop-up” vaccination site in Seattle, Wash.
As for vaccine distribution, Pichai also said Google Cloud would help healthcare organizations, retail pharmacies, logistics companies and public sector institutions to “make use of innovative technologies to speed up delivery of vaccines.”
“For example, logistics companies are using our AI to optimize trucking operations by adapting to traffic or inclement weather, and detect temperature fluctuations during transport,” Pichai explained. “Once vaccines reach their destination, our tools help facilitate pre-screening, scheduling and follow-up.”
Pichai added that Google’s “Intelligence Vaccine Impact Platform” was helping states like New York and North Carolina “manage distribution and forecast where vaccines, personal protective equipment, and hospital staffing will be most needed.”
Meanwhile, Google, in an effort to help the public find “accurate and timeline information on vaccines,” has also expanded its information panels on search to more than 40 countries and in dozens of languages, and will add more in the coming week.
“Well begin showing state and regional distribution information on Search so people can easily find when they are eligible to receive a vaccine,” Pichai said.
Google is also expected to launch a “Get The Facts” initiative across Google and YouTube to “get authoritative information out to the public about vaccines.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected every community all over the world. It’s also inspired coordination between public and private sectors, and across international borders, on a remarkable scale,” Pichai said. “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.”
He added: “Google will continue to support in whatever way we can.”