SAN FRANCISCO - Google said it will open up some of its U.S. facilities to serve as mass vaccination sites and expand its search results to provide better information on where people can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said in a blog post Monday that it’s partnering with public health officials and health care provider One Medical to open vaccine sites in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and Kirkland, Washington, a suburb east of Seattle. It plans to expand to more cities across the country.
"We’re working with local officials to determine when sites can open based on local vaccine availability," the post states.
The tech giant is also expanding information panels in Google search to help people find when and where they can receive a vaccine, noting searches for "vaccines near me" have increased five times since the beginning of 2021.
COVID-19 vaccine locations will be available in Google Search and Maps and will include details like whether an appointment or referral is required, if access is limited to specific groups, or if it has a drive-through, the company said. It will pull information from VaccineFinder.org, an initiative of Boston Children's Hospital, and other authoritative sources, such as government agencies and retail pharmacies.
Google plans to start this initiative in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and expand to more states and countries in the coming weeks.
The efforts to bolster information about vaccine distribution come as the rollout continues across the U.S. in an effort to stem the pandemic. A recent survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that roughly 60% of Americans said they do not have enough information about when they will be able to receive the vaccine, or where they’ll be able to get it.
Since vaccinations began in December, nearly 22 million doses have been delivered to people nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Nearly 6% of the population has received at least one dose. A total of 3.2 million people, or 1% of the population, have received both doses required for those vaccines.
More than 419,000 people in the United States and 2 million globally have died due to the coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.