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Google announced a series of pledges on Thursday to fund and promote coronavirus vaccines across the globe, including US$250 million in advertising grants for pro-vaccination groups.
Through its philanthropy arm, Google will pay for 250,000 shots in “low and middle-income countries,” as classified by Google’s partner Gavi, a charity focused on vaccine distribution.
Google is also committing US$2.5 million for pop-up vaccination sites and related efforts in Black, Latino and rural U.S. communities. The US$250 million in ad grants will fund more than 2.5 billion vaccine-related public service announcements, according to a blog post from Karen DeSalvo, Google’s chief health officer.
Read more: Facebook Turns Part of Headquarters Campus Into a Vaccine Site
Google hired DeSalvo, a former Obama official, and other medical veterans for a new health division and the Alphabet Inc. unit has taken several public steps to combat the pandemic. The company tailored search results for online queries about the virus and offers vaccination locations in Google Maps. In March 2020, Google pledged US$800 million in pandemic relief for frontline workers and ad credits for health organizations.
However the company’s video arm, YouTube, has been criticized for airing videos questioning COVID-19 vaccines. Google’s contact-tracing efforts have gone largely unused by governments and a COVID-19 testing project from Verily, an Alphabet health unit, ended in California in less than a year.