Google Maps

By: Nick Gambino

While we watched from afar as COVID-19 slowly crept toward our shores (or quickly if you consider the fact it arrived nestled inside a passenger on a plane), I don’t think any of us outside the scientific community could have predicted how long we’d be battling the novel coronavirus. Here we are nearly a year later and we’re only just now seeing a dash of hope with vaccinations rolling out nationwide.

With the Biden administration at the helm, the plan is to vaccinate 100 million in 100 days. This is a tall order and with the distribution plan from the last administration effectively non-existent (apparently it was mostly left up to the states), they’re starting behind the eight ball.

While each area has its own rollout plan, SOP is that those most in need – frontline workers, elderly, etc. – are getting vaccinated first. With high demand and a shortage of the vaccine, it’s important to stay up on the most recent info and know when and where you can get your first of two shots. Google Maps will help you take care of the latter.

In an effort to raise awareness and help people get vaccinated Google Maps is adding vaccination sites to their app in the near future.

“Searches for ‘vaccines near me’ have increased 5x since the beginning of the year and we want to make sure we’re providing locally relevant answers,” CEO of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai, said in a blog post. “In the coming weeks, COVID-19 vaccination locations will be available in Google Search and Maps, starting with Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, with more states and countries to come.”

In addition to locations, the app will offer up info on whether you’ll need an appointment or a referral before showing up, whether the location is open to anyone or just specific people (over 65, etc.), or if they offer drive-through vaccinations for those who want to mitigate the risk of exposure.

There’s finally a sliver of hope that we might get back to normal in the coming months – a new normal, I’m sure, but at least it’ll feel like we can live our lives again and stave off the loss of life.