Facebook announced last Wednesday (9) a partnership with pharmaceutical company Merk with the aim of enhancing the reach of vaccines in needy communities. Both will commit US$ 20 million of their budget for the cause, which will develop on a multi-year basis and which, for the time being, will not have a deadline to finish.

Called the Alliance for Advancing Health Online, the alliance is creating a fund that will provide grants to “researchers and organizations that are exploring how best to use health care. science behavioral, the social media and digital platforms to build trust and access to vaccines,” explained Facebook's head of health, Kang-Xing Jin, on the company's blog.

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According to the CNET website, the initiative also has other partners, they are: World Bank, Bay Area Global Health Alliance, CDC Foundation, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, World Health Organization (WHO), Sabin Vaccine Institute and Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Facebook partners for vaccines to reach underserved communities. Image: Shutterstock
Facebook partners for vaccines to reach underserved communities. Image: Shutterstock

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Facebook is one of the social networks that has been fighting misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, adding strategies and tools within the platform itself, such as directing people to more reliable sources when accessing publications on the subject.

“This new initiative aims to promote public understanding of how social media and behavioral sciences can be leveraged to improve the health of communities around the world,” added Jin.

According to Reuters and data from Oxford University's Our World in Data Project, at least 199 countries are already vaccinating against Covid-19 and 2,2 billion doses of vaccine have been administered worldwide. However, developed countries have greater access to vaccines and at least 52% of the population that received the dose are from countries that have a higher average income.  

At the same time, due to misinformation, many people are still hesitant to receive the dose. In March, Facebook released a poll with Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Maryland that found 23 percent of American adults are afraid to take immunizers against the virus.

With this, Facebook emphasizes the importance of measures to combat misinformation, in addition to the scientific approach to possible side effects.

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