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Facebook partners with government to launch tool to find nearest vaccine centres

In a post, Facebook said it is “partnering with the Government of India” and that the app will be available in 17 languages “to help people identify places nearby to get the vaccine”.

May 05, 2021 / 02:52 PM IST
Representational image

Representational image

Tech giant Facebook has partnered with the Indian government to roll out a vaccine finder on its mobile application in India.

The tool aims to help people locate nearby places for vaccination and their timings, as per data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Mashable reported.

It will also allow those above 45 years to find spots for walk-in options and display links to register and book appointments on the Co-WIN platform.

Follow our LIVE Updates on the coronavirus pandemic here

Apart from vaccination details, the tool will also provide information on how to seek emergency care and managing mild COVID-19 symptoms at home – as per information provided by UNICEF India.

COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Further, the company has announced a $10 million grant for emergency response efforts during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in India.

In a post, Facebook said it is “partnering with the Government of India” and that the app will be available in 17 languages “to help people identify places nearby to get the vaccine”.

Besides the government, Facebook is also working with NGOs such as I Am Gurgaon, Hemkunt Foundation, Project Mumbai, Swasth, United Way and the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) to “deploy funds” to build stock of critical medical supplies.

Medical supplies will include over 5,000 oxygen concentrators and other life-saving equipment like ventilators, BiPAP machines, it added.

In a post on March 15, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had announced the company’s global campaign “to bring 50 million people a step closer to getting Covid-19 vaccines”.

“We've already connected over 2 billion people to authoritative Covid-19 information. Now that many countries are moving towards vaccinations for all adults, we're working on tools to make it easier for everyone to get vaccinated as well,” he said.

Giving information about the tool then, he said the tool would also be introduced to Instagram and WhatsApp chatbots.

“The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work. They're our best hope for getting past this virus and getting back to normal life. I'm looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too,” he added.

Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here
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first published: May 5, 2021 02:52 pm