FERNANDINA BEACH WEATHER

Facebook COVID-19 alerts are making an impact in Florida communities

FloridaPolitics.com
Staff Report
August 30, 2021

Facebook data also shows a 3% decrease in vaccine reluctance over the past month.

As the Delta variant continues tearing through Florida, local governments are increasingly relying on social media to update residents on the virus, vaccines and safety precautions.

Facebook’s COVID Alerts system is one of the top tools for providing timely and reliable updates on the virus to keep communities informed amid the increased uncertainty.

Government officials in the Village of Palm Springs recently used Facebook Alerts to inform residents of new vaccination sites and spread awareness about mobile vaccination clinics in both English and Spanish.

“Empowering state and local health departments with new ways to get timely information into the hands of Florida residents can have an enormous impact in decreasing the spread of COVID and help people make smart decisions about the health of themselves and their families. Facebook created COVID Alerts for this purpose and we have seen cities use these alerts to get updated information about vaccine availability and the delta variant to Florida residents,” said Will Castleberry, vice president of State Policy at Facebook.

In addition to local alerts, Facebook is promoting reliable information on COVID-19 and vaccines through in-feed content, its COVID Information Center and its vaccine finder tool.

According to a recent study by The Doctors for Coronavirus Prevention Project, public health messages delivered via Facebook ads are having a measurable impact on behavior.

WhatsApp, a subsidiary of Facebook, also launched a nation-wide push using Spanish language messages that shared factual information about COVID and available vaccines in order to encourage Hispanic residents to get vaccinated. The “bot” enabled people to find a vaccine in their area, arrange a free ride to get vaccinated, and get answers to frequently asked questions from the CDC’s helpline.

Also, according to the latest data from Carnegie Mellon University and Facebook’s Data For Good, Florida is seeing rising COVID cases but a 3% decrease in vaccine reluctance over the past month, emphasizing the need for COVID alerts to get Floridians vaccinated.

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