Google's US office facilities will serve as COVID-19 vaccination clinics
Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced via a tweet on Monday that his organization will open its facilities in the US to serve as mass COVID-19 vaccination sites. Further, the tech giant has committed more than $150 million in free ads to promote vaccine education. Pichai said Google wants to do its part in solving the pressing problem of vaccine distribution.
Google plans to offer its head offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by other locations within the US. It will extend the offer to other countries later. Unused real estate like buildings, parking lots, and open areas will be used. Healthcare provider One Medical and local authorities are working with Google to open sites in California, Kirkland, Washington, and New York City.
Since the beginning of the year, searches for "vaccines near me" have increased five-fold. Pichai said Google Maps and Search features will reflect COVID-19 vaccination center locations in the coming weeks. Searches will also tell users if the center requires prior medical referral or is limited to specific groups. Google will also leverage AI to help pharmacies and healthcare services with vaccine transportation logistics.
Further, under pressure from lawmakers, Google has actively curbed anti-vaccine content on its platforms. YouTube has been removing content peddling baseless claims, such as the vaccines causing infertility or used as a ploy to secretly implant microchips. Since the pandemic began, the company has been helping nonprofits and public healthcare services relay important information using free ads through its Ad Grants Crisis Relief program.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has vowed to administer 100 million doses during his first 100 days in office. Big Tech has also offered help, coincidentally after Trump left office. However, a Bloomberg report reveals that Trump's existing vaccine efforts had already achieved (sans any Big Tech help) 98 percent of Biden's 100,000 shots-a-day target in the very week that he was sworn into office.
US has been badly affected by COVID-19, with over 417,000 deaths across the country, as per Johns Hopkins University Data Dr. David Rhew, Chief Medical Officer and Vice President of Healthcare at Microsoft, is spearheading efforts at Microsoft to streamline vaccine distribution. Microsoft is enabling registrations for patients and providers, phased scheduling of vaccinations, streamlined reporting, and management dashboarding with analytics and forecasting.
Amazon tweeted an open letter to President Biden offering assistance to reach a goal that was already all but achieved by Trump. Amazon, however, used the opportunity to seek priority vaccination for its 800,000-strong workforce. Big Tech has been vocal in their prejudice against Trump, which is clearly evident in their decision to abstain from offering the same help to the Trump administration.