Uber, Lyft to provide free rides to COVID-19 vaccine sites in new White House partnership

ByBetsy Klein and Jeremy Diamond, CNN, CNNWire
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Uber, Lyft to provide free rides to COVID vaccination sites
Uber and Lyft will provide free rides to and from vaccination sites until July 4, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday.

WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden announced additional steps toward promoting vaccine accessibility, including free rides on Uber and Lyft to vaccination sites, to help meet the administration's goal of 70% of adults getting at least one coronavirus shot by July 4.

Uber and Lyft will provide free rides to and from vaccination sites until July 4 as part of a new partnership with the White House, Biden confirmed on Tuesday.

"To ensure that transportation is less of a barrier, from May 24th through July 4th, Uber and Lyft are both going to offer everyone free rides to and from vaccination sites. I think that is really stepping up," Biden said during a virtual meeting with governors at the White House on Tuesday.

The White House did not allow members of the press to observe the event, as is typical of Biden's events each day. The event was instead live-streamed online by the White House.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients detailed the new steps in a call with governors on Tuesday, and Biden will highlight the program during a virtual meeting with a bipartisan group of governors on Tuesday afternoon.

President Joe Biden is setting a new vaccination goal to deliver at least one dose to 70% of adult Americans by July 4 as the administration pushes to make it easier for people to get shots and to bring the country closer to normalcy.

The White House shared information on the location of about 80,000 vaccination sites with the rideshare companies and the two companies plan to promote the free rides in 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. The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4," the White House said in a statement. "By helping Americans get a free ride to a vaccination site, Lyft and Uber are eliminating a potential barrier and driving America closer to the President's goal of getting 70% of the U.S. adult population with at least one shot by July 4th."

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the new partnership.

Additionally, the administration is ramping up vaccination sites with new partnerships with the nation's community colleges, providing on-site vaccination clinics.

"These community colleges will work to get word out to students, staff, and local communities to make use of these clinics, especially for students who are on or nearby campus this summer," the White House said in the statement.

And Biden said the new initiatives being rolled out on Tuesday will make "it easy for students who will work with federal pharmacy partners to bring on-campus vaccine sites to dozens of the nation's largest community colleges this summer."

The President also announced additional funding for state, territorial, tribal and local governments for "community outreach and engagement." That funding will help boost educational efforts via phone, text and in-person outreach, setting up pop-up sites, and other partnerships.

During the virtual governors meeting -- which included Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Maine Gov. Janet Mills, and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz -- Biden asked the governors about their states' best practices in getting Americans vaccinated.

The new efforts come as supply is beginning to outpace demand. It also comes one week after Biden set a new goal of administering at least one vaccine dose to 70% of the population and having 160 million US adults fully vaccinated by July 4.

So far, about 153 million adults -- about 58% of the adult population in the US -- have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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