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Google commits millions for vaccine shots and online PSAs

Google is also committing $2.5 million for pop-up vaccination sites and related efforts in Black, Latino and rural U.S. communities.

FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is displayed outside the company offices in New York, U.S., June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is displayed outside the company offices in New York, U.S., June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo (REUTERS)

Google announced a series of pledges on Thursday to fund and promote coronavirus vaccines across the globe, including $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 $2.5 million for pop-up vaccination sites and related efforts in Black, Latino and rural U.S. communities. The $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.

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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 $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.

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