Facebook said on Wednesday it is collaborating with various public health groups to launch a new initiative that will focus on vaccine hesitancy and vaccine equity in under-served communities.
Social media giant and pharmaceutical company Merck are investing $20 million each in what Facebook says will be a multi-year effort. Other partners include the World Health Organization, the World Bank, the Bay Area Global Health Coalition, the CDC Foundation, the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, the Sabin Vaccine Institute, and the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Facebook did not specify how long the initiative would last.
The group is calling the new initiative the Alliance for Advancing Health Online. “This new initiative aims to advance people’s understanding of how social media and behavioral science can be used to improve the health of communities around the world,” Facebook health chief Kang-Jing Jin said in a blog post. is.”
Social media companies have struggled to deal with the rapid spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. Facebook is trying to get people to access more authoritative sources in an information center. Its latest effort is another example of how the company is trying to show that it can be used as a force to be reckoned with amid mounting criticism.
At least 199 countries have begun vaccination against COVID-19 and at least 2.2 billion vaccine doses have been given around the world, according to Reuters, which analyzed data from the Our World in Data Project at the University of Oxford. In developed countries, however, there is greater access to the vaccine and about 52% of people who have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine are from high-income countries.
At the same time, some people including America are still hesitant to take the vaccine. In March, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Maryland and Facebook released a survey showing that 23% of American adults are hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but one way to tackle the problem is to address concerns about any side effects. have to remove.
The new alliance is creating a fund that will “give grants to researchers and organizations that are exploring how best to use behavioral science, social media and digital platforms to build trust and access to vaccines,” Jin said. said.
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