Facebook collaborates in vaccination plan 0:46
(CNN) – Facebook is rolling out a handful of new tools on its platforms to help people get vaccinated against Covid-19.
The tech giant, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, announced Monday that it will use its platforms to help users learn more about covid-19 vaccines, as well as where and when they can get vaccinated.
“With many countries moving toward vaccination for all adults, we are working on tools to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated, too,” wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in prepared comments posted on the social media platform Monday.
“First, we are launching a tool that shows you when and where you can get vaccinated, and provides you with a link to make an appointment,” Zuckerberg wrote in the post. “This will be in the Covid Information Center, which we will show people directly in their News Feed.”
The Covid Information Center will also be on Instagram, where Zuckerberg said the company will “show it to people prominently there as well.”
The company, Zuckerberg added, is also “working with health authorities and governments to expand their WhatsApp chatbots to help people register for vaccines.”
How to find covid-19 vaccines in the US through Facebook
To help people find vaccines, Facebook partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital to launch its locator tool in the United States. The tool informs Facebook users about where to access COVID-19 vaccines in their neighborhood, the hours of operation of vaccination sites, contact information, and links to make an appointment.
“You should be able to search their Facebook app, if you type something like ‘Covid-19’ or ‘Covid-19 Vaccine.’ That will open the Covid-19 Information Center on Facebook, and inside there will be a new tool where you can search for vaccination sites near you, ”Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook’s chief health officer, told CNN on Sunday.
The vaccine locator tool is similar to a blood donation feature Facebook launched in 2019 to help users find places to donate blood in their area and receive notifications when a nearby blood donation center may need it, Jin said. .
“Our partners in the United States saw a 19% increase in first-time blood donors nationwide,” he said. “So our hope is really to help here with the vaccine application.”
The locations identified in the new Covid-19 vaccine finder come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Finder, a system of vaccination providers based on in the web. The tool was launched only in the US, but Facebook announced that it plans to expand to other countries as the vaccines become more widely available. The tool will be compatible in 71 different languages.
“It’s initially on Facebook, but we hope to bring it to Instagram soon,” Jin said.
The Covid-19 Information Center is launched on Instagram
For now, the Covid-19 Information Center itself has been on Instagram, “which will include a lot of information on common questions about the vaccine,” Jin said. “And that is also available from today.”
The Covid-19 Information Center, a portal that was originally launched on the Facebook platform last March, is now accessible to all Instagram users around the world, according to Facebook.
When users click on the Covid-19 Information Center portal, they will see information on Covid-19 from their local health ministers and the World Health Organization.
In the coming weeks, general social media posts about Covid-19 vaccines will automatically receive tags directing people to the Covid-19 Information Center.
“This will apply to all posts that generally refer to covid-19 vaccines,” Jin said. “Basically, the tag will provide a link to the Covid-19 Information Center, where people can go to get answers to common questions.”
Facebook also announced on Monday that Instagram has released new “stickers” about the COVID-19 vaccine that users can use in their Instagram Stories. For example, a label says “LET’S GET VACCINATED” and has a heart symbol.
Health authorities turn to WhatsApp
Meanwhile, news is also taking place on Facebook’s other platform, WhatsApp. Facebook has offered the messaging app as a way for health authorities and governments to share information about the Covid-19 vaccine with users.
For example, Buenos Aires announced last week that WhatsApp will be the official channel through which citizens of the Argentine capital will be notified when it is their turn to receive the vaccine, according to Facebook.
“WhatsApp is a free service that is actually usually cheaper than SMS or text messages, so it can lower the barriers in some way,” Jin said.
“At the end of the day, governments are using all communication channels to reach people where they are, both online and offline, with relevant information. And we are doing everything possible to support these efforts and decisions.