May 12, 2021 -- People who haven’t been able to get a COVID-19 vaccine because of transportation problems may have a solution. The White House announced Tuesday that Uber and Lyft will offer free rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites.
The White House expects the companies to have the free-ride program in operation in 2 weeks. It will run through July 4 -- the date when President Joe Biden hopes 70% of the nation will be at least partially vaccinated. The program will be featured on the ride-hailing companies’ apps to help people find nearby vaccination sites.
“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,” the White House said in a fact sheet about vaccination efforts.
The announcement about the ride-hailing companies was made as the Biden administration works to boost the national vaccination program.
The CDC says the 7-day moving average for vaccinations is now around 2 million per day, down from around 3.2 million a month ago. Demand for vaccines is dropping because most people who want the vaccine have already been able to get a dose. The CDC says 58.5% of adults in the U.S. have gotten at least one dose.
Lyft says riders will be able to get their ride code directly through the Lyft app or website.
“After providing a few details, users will receive a code they can use to get rides to and from a vaccination site near them,” the company said in a news release. “Ride codes will cover $15 each way, which based on previous rides given to vaccination sites, we expect to cover most, if not all, of riders’ fares.”
Ride codes can be used for Lyft rideshare, bike, or scooter rides during standard pharmacy operating hours of 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"The vaccine is the key to getting us all moving again, and we’re proud to do our part to move the country forward,” says John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft. “We’re grateful to the Biden administration for prioritizing access."
In a statement released on Tuesday, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company committed back in December to giving 10 million free or discounted rides to people needing vaccinations.
“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 said. “This is a proud moment for me, for Uber, and for our country. More and more Americans continue to get vaccinated every day -- let’s keep moving forward, together.”