Facebook has announced that it's launching a tool that will show "when and where you can get vaccinated" for COVID-19, and provide a link to help you make an appointment. The new feature will show in its COVID-19 Information Center and is arriving when the US and other countries are starting to vaccinate adults. The aim is "to help bring 50 million people a step closer to getting COVID-19 vaccines," according to a post from CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
To create the tool, Facebook partnered with Boston Children's Hospital, which runs the VaccineFinder.org website. That tool — available in the COVID-19 Information Center starting today — will provide the hours of operation, contact info and links to make a vaccination appointment. It will be supported in 71 different languages, and Facebook plans to expand it to other countries once vaccines are more widely available.
Facebook also revealed that it will bring the COVID-19 Information Center to Instagram and "show it prominently there too." As with the Facebook portal, the tool will display the latest virus information from local governments and the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the Instagram Blog. You'll also see new stickers on Instagram Stories, "so people can inspire others to get vaccinated when it becomes available to them," Facebook said.
First, we're launching a tool that shows you when and where you can get vaccinated, and gives you a link to make an appointment. This will be in the Covid Information Center, which we'll show people right in their News Feed. We've already seen people use Facebook to find vaccination appointments, so this should enable millions more people to do the same.
Facebook is also working with medical authorities on WhatsApp chatbots in an effort to help people register for vaccines. "More than 3 billion messages related to Covid have already been sent by governments, nonprofits and international organizations to citizens through official WhatsApp chatbots, so this update will help with the vaccination effort as well," Zuckerberg wrote.
Finally, Facebook revealed plans to make vaccination trends, like intent to get vaccinated and reasons for hesitancy, available to public officials "to inform equitable vaccine rollout." It's also launching data and insights on vaccine attitudes on its COVID-19 map and dashboard, available on Facebook's "Data for Good" dashboard. Meanwhile, journalists, aid organizations and public officials will be able to track how vaccine information is spread on social media via CrowdTangle's COVID-19 Live Displays.
USA Today noted that about 21 percent of people in the US have received at least one COVID-19 shot, and 11 percent are fully vaccinated.US President Joe Biden recently unveiled an ambitious plan to inoculate the rest of the US population in time for the July 4th Independence Day celebrations. Some of Facebook's new tools and the vaccination appointment links could help in that regard, particularly for folks who get the majority of their information from the site.