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Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced a new initiative to speed up COVID-19 vaccination efforts.
Pandemic Assistance: Zuckerberg made the announcement on his Facebook page page Monday, promising a “a global campaign to help bring 50 million people a step closer” to becoming vaccinated.
Facebook has “already connected over 2 billion people to authoritative COVID-19 information” and will create tools to enable a universal vaccination effort, the CEO said.
Zuckerberg’s endeavor is a three-pronged approach: the creation of a digital tool to show people where and when they can be vaccinated; the addition of Facebook’s COVID Information Center to Instagram; and a partnership with governments and health agencies to expand the WhatsApp chatbots to help people register for vaccinations.
“The data shows the vaccines are safe and they work,” Zuckerberg said. “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.”
Zuckerberg's initiative complements an earlier announcement by the company that it will expand its efforts to address COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on Facebook and Instagram by adding information labels to posts that discuss the vaccines.
Facebook's Pandemic Profits: Zuckerberg’s announcement comes three days after a Washington Post investigation found his personal wealth topped $100 billion during the last 12 months of the pandemic as Facebook and other social media sites benefited from the new remote work and schooling environments.
The Post, which is part of The Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC), estimated that Zuckerberg’s net worth grew by $29 billion between March 5, 2020, and March 5, 2021, with a relatively slender sliver of his wealth being channeled into pandemic-related altruistic pursuits.
“Through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, an LLC, the CEO of Facebook and his wife, Priscilla Chan, gave $104 million, or 0.36 percent, of the $29 billion he accumulated during the pandemic to support covid-19 research, testing and treatment, and to assist the people and communities most affected by the pandemic, building on Zuckerberg’s earlier pledge to try to ‘cure all disease,’” the Post reported.
FB Price Action: Facebook shares were trading 1.31% higher at $271.91 at last check Monday.
Photo of Mark Zuckerberg by Anthony Quintano/Creative Commons.
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