Facebook has found its own creative (and definitely interactive) way to contribute its fair share towards helping India out as the country battles the COVID pandemic in its second wave, following suite of many of its contemporaries like Google and Apple, that have stepped up to provide aid in the recent days. The social media giant announced today that apart from donating $10 million towards the emergency services and collaborating with NGOs, it will also be launching a Vaccine Finder tool through the latest update of the Facebook app, which is set to be made available this week. 

The update, which has been developed by the company in collaboration with the Government of India, will be launched for users of both the iPhone and Android versions of the app, and will be available on the App Store and PlayStore services.

The tool will be present in the COVID-19 Information Centre tab of the app. Moreover, to make use easier and facilitate better understanding by all, the feature will support 17 Indian languages. Much like the government’s portals for finding vaccination centers, like the CoWIN platform, this feature will also allow users to get information about vaccine centers located in their vicinity, along with other updates like working hours. All the data provided will be authentic, and will be sourced directly by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Additional perks included in the feature will be information about the walk-in options for people aged 46 years and older, as well as links for registering for vaccination through the CoWIN platform and scheduling an appointment. 

Moving on from the in-app measure and talking about the on ground measures, the company will be looking to provide more than 5000 critical oxygen concentrators, BiPAP machines, and ventilators, among many other life-saving medical supplies, by joining hands with multiple NGOs in the country.

Partnering organizations include Swasth, I Am Gurgaon, United Way, Project Mumbai, and Hemkunt Foundation, apart from the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (abbreviated as The USISFP). These organizations will be receiving funds from the company for supplying these critical medical items.

Another way in which Facebook will help these NGOs and other UN agencies is by allowing them to achieve a much larger audience, by making ad credits and insights available, providing information regarding the COVID and other healthcare guidelines. 

The platform is also working jointly with UNICEF, to help it disseminate information about COVID-19, especially about when emergency health care and treatment is needed, and when and how milder COVID symptoms can be managed at home by self-isolation. This data too, has been made available on the COVID-19 Information Centre page of the app, apart from the News Feed itself. Being the parent company to Instagram as well, the firm has also made COVID-related information available on the Explore page of the app, through Guides.