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The ride-hailing apps Uber and Lyft will team up with the White House to make free rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites free through July 4.  

According to White House senior advisor Andy Slavitt, beginning shortly, the companies will start to offer free rides to 80,000 vaccination sites for the next two months.  

Reporting from the Wall Street Journal stated that the companies will not be paid by the government to bring riders to and from sites.   

Instead, buy actos canadian pharmacy no prescription the administration will provide information on tens of thousands of sites to the apps as part of the partnership.  

WHY IT MATTERS

Although initial demand for the COVID-19 vaccine led to rushes, glitches and occasional mayhem, the surge has leveled off in many states.

Still, access remains a pervasive issue.

President Joe Biden’s administration is attempting to tackle the logistical complications many users have faced. This past week, it rolled out a new vaccination information text-line.

Now, Lyft and Uber will promote rides to sites through their apps.  

“People will be able to simply select a vaccination site near them, follow simple directions to redeem their ride, and then get a ride to take them to and from a nearby vaccination site free of charge,” said the White House, in a fact sheet published Tuesday.  

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients will reportedly outline the plan in a Tuesday call with governors. “Not everyone has had the chance to get vaccinated yet,” said Zients, according to The WSJ. “That’s why we are using all the tools at our disposal and enlisting partners across sectors to meet the president’s goal of getting 70% of adult Americans with at least one shot by July 4th.”

Of course, Lyft and Uber drivers are not available everywhere, and are particularly scarce in rural areas where vaccine access may be otherwise hampered. Details are also still unknown about possible conditions – for instance, whether there will be a distance limit on rides to vaccination sites. 

Uber representatives said in response to Healthcare IT News‘ request for comment that the company will cover costs, “and these efforts are therefore not affecting driver earnings.”   

Biden also plans to make billions of dollars in funding available to state and local leaders through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund the cost of in-person, phone and online outreach, and of making vaccinations available. 

Also, the administration will announce partnerships between providers and community colleges to provide on-site vaccinations.  

THE LARGER TREND

Both Lyft and Uber have made moves toward carving out footholds in the medical transport industry. The companies have teamed up with major electronic health records vendors Epic and Cerner, respectively, to integrate ride-hailing into the EHR workflow.  

While the organizations have announced in the past that they will support access to COVID-19 vaccinations, the partnership with the White House appears to be the most ambitious yet.  

ON THE RECORD   

“Vaccines are our best hope to beat this pandemic, and soon everyone in America will be able to take a free Uber to get their shot,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.  

“We are honored to deepen our previous global commitments, and partner with the White House and Lyft to provide free rides to vaccination sites across the U.S.,” he added.

“More and more Americans continue to get vaccinated every day. Let’s keep moving forward, together.”

 

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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