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Monday, April 12, 2021 | 06:33 pm
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Trying to Book a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment? Facebook Is Launching a Vaccine Finder Tool

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Trying to Book a COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment? Facebook Is Launching a Vaccine Finder Tool

As many Americans struggle to make appointments for COVID-19 vaccines, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a plan to help more people get vaccinated.

Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post early Monday that the social media giant is launching a tool in its COVID Information Center that shows “when and where you can get vaccinated, and gives you a link to make an appointment.”

Facebook is partnering with Boston Children’s Hospital, which runs the VaccineFinder.org website, to offer the tool that identifies places nearby to get the vaccine.

“Improving vaccine access and equity across the country will be a critical step in achieving herd immunity and bringing this pandemic to a close,” John Brownstein, Boston Children’s Hospital chief innovation officer and VaccineFinder founder, said in a statement.

According to USA TODAY’s vaccine tracker, which is frequently updated, as of Sunday, about 21% of people in the U.S. have received at least one COVID-19 shot, and about 11.3% of people are fully vaccinated. About 21.2% of the shots distributed haven’t been used yet.

Zuckerberg said the company has already connected more than 2 billion people to “authoritative” information about the virus. “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 in his post.

As part of the efforts, the COVID-19 Information Center will expand to Instagram and Zuckerberg said the company was also working with health authorities and governments to expand WhatsApp chatbots to help get people registered for vaccinations.

Since the vaccines began rolling out, social media companies have become more aggressive in curbing the flood of misinformation. Facebook says it has been removing posts with false claims about the coronavirus, COVID-19 vaccines, and vaccines in general. The company also said it would remove accounts that repeatedly share misinformation.

“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,” Zuckerberg wrote. “I’m looking forward to getting mine, and I hope you are too.”

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