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Covid vaccine site locations to be added to Google Maps

CEO Sundar Pichai says vaccine roll out is ‘one of the most important problems we’ll solve in our lifetimes’

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 26 January 2021 14:18 GMT
One of the new vaccination hubs has opened near Wembley Stadium in London
One of the new vaccination hubs has opened near Wembley Stadium in London (PA)

Google will add Covid-19 vaccination locations to its Maps and Search apps, the technology giant has announced.

CEO Sundar Pichai said Google would also provide $150 million to “promote vaccine education and equitable distribution”, while also opening up its own sites to serve as vaccination spots.

The development and early stage distribution of multiple safe vaccines has seen searches for ‘vaccines near me’ increase five-fold since the beginning of the year, according to Google search data.

In order to highlight authoritative information, Google will begin adding the official vaccination sites to its Maps and Search “in the coming weeks".

The initiative will begin with Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas before rolling out to more US states and countries, though no set timeframe has been announced yet.

“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,” Mr Pichai wrote in a blog post outlining Google’s efforts.

“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.”

Under US President Joe Biden, the US plans to give out 100 million Covid-19 vaccine shots in the first 100 days of the new administration.

Google is adding vaccine site locations to its Maps and Search platforms (Google)

Google has previously faced criticism over its handling of coronavirus misinformation on its platforms, most notably YouTube.

The video-sharing service was forced to introduce a slew of new measures in an effort to stem the spread of false medical information and conspiracy theories related to Covid-19.

Earlier this month, the world’s largest online video platform announced a partnership with health organisations to create content containing information from official sources.

Mr Pichai said a new initiative called ‘Get The Facts’ was planned across Google and YouTube “to get authoritative information out to the public about vaccines.”

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