Pichai commits $150mn for equitable access to Covid vaccines
New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday pledged more than $150 million to promote vaccine education and ensure equitable distribution so that everyone can benefit from this triumph of scientific achievement, and quickly.
The tech giant announcing an additional $100 million in ad grants for the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO) and nonprofits around the globe.
“We’ll invest another $50 million in partnership with public health agencies to reach underserved communities with vaccine-related content and information,” Pichai said in a statement.
“We’ll also be opening up Google spaces to serve as vaccination sites as needed”.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, said Pichai, the company has helped more than 100 government agencies and global non-governmental organisations run critical public service health announcements through its Ad Grants Crisis Relief programme.
“Our efforts will focus heavily on equitable access to vaccines. Early data in the US shows that disproportionately affected populations, especially people of colour and those in rural communities, aren’t getting access to the vaccine at the same rates as other groups,” Pichai emphasized.
To help, Google.org has committed $5 million in grants to organisations addressing racial and geographic disparities in Covid-19 vaccinations.
According to Google, Searches for “vaccines near me” have increased five times since the beginning of the year.
“In the coming weeks, Covid-19 vaccination locations will be available in Google Search and Maps, starting with Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, with more states and countries to come,” Pichai informed.
To help with vaccination efforts, starting in the US, the company will make select Google facilities – such as 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.
To help find accurate and timely information on vaccines, Google has expanded its information panels on Search to more than 40 countries and dozens of languages, with more rolling out in the coming week.
“We’ll begin showing state and regional distribution information on Search so people can easily find when they are eligible to receive a vaccine,” Pichai said.
Soon, Google will launch a “Get The Facts” initiative across Google and YouTube to get authoritative information out to the public about vaccines.