Google will convert some of its facilities into COVID-19 vaccination sites starting in New York City, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Kirkland, Washington. Partnering with One Medical and public health authorities, it will open “buildings, parking lots and open spaces,” to anyone eligible for the vaccine, wrote CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post. The company will work with local officials to determine when the sites can be opened.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected every community all over the world,” Pichai said. “It’s also inspired coordination between public and private sectors, and across international borders, on a remarkable scale. We can’t slow down now.”
Google also pledged $150 million to promote vaccine education and distribution, including $100 million in ad grants and $50 million in partnership with health agencies. As part of that, it will add state- and region-specific vaccine information to its search pages, listing sites in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas to Search and Maps over the next few weeks. “We’ll include details like whether an appointment or referral is required, if access is limited to specific groups, or if it has a drive-through,” added Pichai. More states and countries will appear later.
Google noted that early data shows people of color and people in rural communities have less access to vaccines than other groups. To that end, it also committed $5 million to “organizations addressing racial and geographic disparities in COVID-19 vaccinations,” Pichai said.
Another tech giant, Amazon, opened a pop-up clinic in Seattle hoping to vaccinate 2,000 people. In a letter to the new Biden administration, it also pledged its facilities to inoculate its 800,000 strong workforce — though not other members of the public (to date it has yet to receive a reply). Microsoft has also said that it would open up an empty building on its campus to vaccinations.