As countries around the world begin their COVID-19 vaccine trials, Google searches for “vaccines near me” have increased fivefold. Hence, to help people find the nearest vaccine sites, Google is working on adding vaccination locations available to Maps and Search. The company says this new venture is a part of its fight against the pandemic.
The search engine giant has also vouched to convert Google facilities, including parking lots and open spaces, into makeshift vaccination facilities in partnership with health care provider One Medical.
In the coming week, the company will begin to show state and regional distribution information on Search. Initially, the new feature will only be available in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississipi, and Texas. However, Google promises that it will be made available to other states and countries soon. This is being done in collaboration with the VaccineFinder.org and “other authoritative” sources, including government agencies, to ensure it provides users with accurate information.
The new feature will provide users with information like whether they need an appointment or referral to get vaccinated, if the vaccine is limited to certain population groups, or if the vaccine is available at a drive-through.
Apart from this, Google said it’s also pledging $150 million to promote education and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Grants will go to CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization, and other nonprofits around the globe.