Facebook has been refining its COVID-19 Information Center a number of times since it was first repurposed as a response to the global pandemic last year. The latest update that Facebook has added to the Information Center pertains to people’s desire to get vaccinated.
This as the social media company has launched a global campaign to assist in getting 50 million people vaccinated. It was CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who first broke the news, detailing the new plans in a Facebook post before offering up some information in an official blog post.
The new addition to the Information Center will provide a link for people to find out where they can get vaccinated, as well as make a booking. It is also said to be rolling out in the United States and other parts of the world, but at the time of writing, remains to be seen if South Africans for example will see the links.
Much of the functionality of this tool has been empowered by partners, according to Facebook, with the US-specific variant made possible thanks to the work of the Boston Children’s Hospital and the vaccinefinder.org website that it employs.
“We’ve partnered with Boston Children’s Hospital to offer a tool on Facebook in the US to help people identify places nearby to get the vaccine. The locations in this tool are provided by VaccineFinder and include hours of operation, contact info and links to make an appointment,” explains Facebook.
“You can access this tool in the COVID-19 Information Center and it will be supported in 71 different languages. We plan to expand to other countries as vaccines are available more widely,” it adds.
Looking locally, the Electronic Vaccine Data System (EVDS) is the equivalent platform, having launched in February this year as the country prepared for the first batch of vaccines to be delivered. For now, frontline healthcare workers have been prioritised when it comes to registering and making bookings to receive the Johnson & Johnson single jab vaccine.
As such when the second and third phases of the vaccine rollout begins, later this year, a tool like the Facebook Information Center may prove useful. At the moment, however, we’ll need to wait to see whether the National Department of Health (NDoH) choses to engage with Facebook on its newly outlined global initiative.