Uber and Walgreens are now teaming up in order to make it easier for people who don't own a vehicle or pharmacy near them to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot.
Uber and Walgreens partner up
The two companies announced on February 9 that Uber will offer the public free rids to clinics that offers COVID-19 vaccine shots and to Walgreens stores.
The service is available for those who book an appointment and live in underserved communities. Uber will then work with charitable partners like the National Urban League, in order to help identify those who need the Uber rides.
The program will begin in Chicago, Atlanta, El Paso, Texas and Houston, Texas. A Walgreens spokeswoman stated that free rides will be offered as early as next week in Atlanta and then the program will be expanded to other cities.
This program is a part of a promise that Uber made in December 2020 to offer 10 million free or discounted rides to make sure that transportation does not prevent people from getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States, will take on an expanded role in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout later this week.
Walgreens will now give COVID-19 vaccines to priority groups such as those with preexisting conditions and senior citizens, starting February 12 at some stores in 15 states and in two cities, New York and Chicago, Illinois.
The Biden administration announced the plans last week to start sending direct shipments of doses to about 6,500 retail stores nationwide. The administration also plans to eventually expand that program to 40,000 pharmacies.
The COVID-19 vaccine roll out has been slowed due to the limited supply. It has also reflected broader health-care inequities.
The majority of the 13 million people given at least a dose of vaccine within the first month of distribution were old, white and female, according to the report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Many vaccine sites have relied on its online systems, but it can be complicated to navigate for older Americans or for those who are out of reach for people who don't have a cellphone or any reliable internet access.
COVID-19 vaccine's distribution
COVID-19 has had a disproportionate toll on Hispanic Americans and Black Americans. According to data complied by the COVID-19 Tracking Project, Black Americans have died from COVID-19 at 1.5 times the rate of White people.
On December 2020, The Atlantic released a report stating that 50,000 Black Americans died due to COVID-19. The news site also reported that 31% of Black Americans in the country personally knows someone who has died of COVID-19.
Uber and Walgreens stated that they will also plan to work together in other ways. Uber said that it will add in-app feature that make it easier for Uber drivers, freight workers and delivery people to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment when they are available all over the country.
The two companies are developing an educational program with the National Urban League to reduce vaccine hesitancy.
Related Article: Uber Green Set to Expand to 1,400 North American Cities
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Written by Sieeka Khan