On May 11, 2021, President Joe Biden announced support for an effort by Uber and Lyft to provide free rides for people traveling to COVID-19 vaccination sites.
According to a statement from the White House, the ridesharing companies will promote the locations of vaccination centers in their apps and provide information on how to redeem a free ride. The new promotion will apply to anyone seeking a vaccine beginning in the next two weeks and will last through July 4. The promotion will cover $15 in either direction. According to Lyft, that amount will cover “most, if not all,” of fares to and from the vaccination sites.
Both Uber and Lyft have released statements regarding the promotion. According to John Zimmer, cofounder and president of Lyft, “The vaccine is the key to getting us all moving again, and we’re proud to do our part to move the country forward.” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called the partnership a “proud moment for me, for Uber, and for our country.”
The support from the White House comes as the administration attempts to make getting the COVID-19 vaccine as simple and convenient as possible to encourage more Americans to get the shot. Currently, 59 percent of the population has received at least one dose. President Biden has set the goal of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least their first dose by July 4.
The backing of Uber and Lyft is partly because the federal government is trying to reach unvaccinated persons by shifting away from mass vaccination centers and targeting distribution toward retail pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and mobile vaccination units.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lack of transportation is a factor that is preventing vulnerable populations from getting the vaccine. While the ridesharing promotion will help some people get vaccinated, it won’t help everyone—particularly older and homebound adults, as well as individuals in rural areas where rideshare services are hard to come by.
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