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Uber will offer free rides to Walgreens to expand Covid vaccine access in underserved communities


A person waits for pharmacist Joe Borge in Danvers, MA on Feb. 1, 2021. On the primary day of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 rollout, seniors, 75 and over, get vaccinated in the Walgreens Pharmacy, at 107 High Street, in Danvers.

Pat Greenhouse | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Walgreens and Uber are teaming up to make it simpler for individuals who do not have a automotive or a close-by pharmacy to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

The firms introduced Tuesday that Uber will offer free rides to Walgreens shops and clinics for individuals who e-book an appointment and stay in underserved communities. Uber will work with charitable companions, such because the National Urban League, to determine individuals who want the rides.

The pilot program will begin in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and El Paso, Texas. A Walgreens spokeswoman stated free rides will be provided as early as subsequent week in Atlanta after which expand to the opposite cities.

The partnership is a part of a pledge Uber made in December to offer 10 million free or discounted rides to be certain transportation would not stop folks from getting the Covid vaccine.

Walgreens, the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, will tackle an expanded position in the vaccine rollout later this week. Walgreens will give vaccines to precedence teams — reminiscent of older Americans or these with preexisting circumstances — beginning Friday at some shops in 15 states and two cities, Chicago and New York.

The Biden administration introduced plans final week to begin sending direct shipments of doses to about 6,500 retail shops nationwide. It plans to finally expand that program to 40,000 pharmacies.

The vaccine rollout has been slowed by restricted provide. It has additionally mirrored broader health-care inequities. The majority of the practically 13 million folks given at the very least one dose of vaccine throughout the first month of distribution have been older, White and feminine, in accordance to a examine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many vaccine websites have relied on on-line methods, which may be difficult to navigate for older Americans or out of attain for individuals who do not have a cellphone or dependable web access.

Covid has had a disproportionate toll on Black and Hispanic Americans. Black Americans have died from Covid at 1.5 instances the speed of White folks, in accordance to knowledge compiled by the COVID Tracking Project.

Walgreens and Uber stated additionally they plan to work collectively in different methods. Uber stated it will add in-app options that make it simpler for Uber drivers, supply folks and freight staff to e-book a vaccine appointment when they’re extra broadly obtainable. The firms are growing an academic program with the National Urban League to scale back vaccine hesitancy.



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