Even as our country gradually returns to regular work and life, COVID-19 continues to be a reality for many. The commencement of vaccinations is a source of hope, especially with the second phase now underway, potentially targeting 100 million people who can benefit from it.
As the government continues to manage the logistics of the vaccine roll out -- one of the largest in the world -- it has taken proactive steps to provide timely, accurate, and science-based information about the vaccines to the public. This is crucial because instances of misinformation and disinformation about the vaccine, its need, and it’s efficacy can seriously undermine this public health intervention.
As the government activates the processes involved in implementing these large-scale vaccinations, our teams have been hard at work to surface authoritative and timely information for people asking vaccine-related questions. We have worked with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to amplify this science-based narrative around vaccination drive, and have been working closely with the Rapid Risk Response team at the MoHFW that is tracking misinformation using social media listening tools across region and languages, and countering it with science-based messaging on vaccines and pandemic response overall.
Shortly after the first phase of vaccinations commenced, to help people find credible information we rolled out knowledge panels in Google Search that show up for queries relating to the COVID vaccine. These panels provide consolidated information such as details on the two vaccines, effectiveness, safety, distribution, side effects, and more, and is available in English and eight Indian languages (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, and Hindi). This information is sourced from MoHFW, and provides answers to commonly asked questions, displays real-time statistics around vaccinations completed, and provides links to the MoHFW website for additional local resources.
Search queries on the COVID-19 vaccine display organized information on the subject including top news stories and resources from MoHFW on side effects, where to get it and more.
Our teams also supported the MoHFW in helping optimize their website for mobile viewers by improving the website’s page load times, enabling users to find information swiftly. We also helped localize their various vaccination resource pages into the eight Indian languages listed above.
On YouTube we launched information panels that show up when searching for COVID-related queries and also have a banner on the YouTube homepage, both of which redirect to key vaccine resources on the MoHFW website. We also featured FAQ videos from the MoHFW on the YouTube homepage.
With vaccinations for the vulnerable population having commenced from 1st March in thousands of hospitals across the country, we are also working with the MoHFW and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accurately surface the information on vaccination centers on Google Search, Maps and Google Assistant, and expect to roll this out in the coming weeks .
To enable government officials as they make critical decisions during these vaccination rollouts, we also deliver regular Google Trends reports on COVID vaccine queries that reflect interest around the vaccination from month to month across regions.
As COVID-19 continues to challenge our communities, we remain committed to doing all we can to assist the country’s health agencies at this key juncture of the pandemic, where the successful rollout of these large-scale vaccinations can help us collectively turn a corner and see a much-needed return to normalcy.