Uber pledges 10 million free or discounted rides for people seeking COVID-19 vaccination
Uber has pledged to provide 10 million free or discounted rides to ensure that transportation is not a barrier for people seeking the COVID-19 vaccination.
"We hope our technology can help make the largest-ever global immunization campaign a success and deliver the benefits of the vaccine quickly, effectively and equitably," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.
Those in need of transportation will be offered rides to and from their initial vaccination appointment and for their second and final dose.
The effort will be in partnership with the National Urban League, the Morehouse School of Medicine, and the National Action Network in order to help communities of color that have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic.
The ride-hailing company added that it will announce additional partnerships at a later date.
An Uber sticker is seen on a car on Aug. 20, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
In March, Uber offered 10 million free rides and deliveries to health-care workers, seniors and others in need during the pandemic.
The announcement comes on the heels of a letter sent by Khosrowshahi last week to all 50 U.S. governors asking them to prioritize the company’s rideshare and delivery drivers when it comes to vaccine distribution.
"Over the last nine months, these workers have been a lifeline to their communities," Khosrowshahi wrote in the letter, per Reuters. "They have transported healthcare workers to hospitals, delivered food to people socially distancing at home, and helped local restaurants stay in business."
In addition, the letter was reportedly sent to President-elect Joe Biden.
Reuters also reported that Uber's head of federal affairs, Danielle Burr, sent a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices earlier this month, urging the health agency to consider Uber's rideshare and delivery drivers as essential workers.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said last week that the Trump administration expects to distribute up to 20 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine by the end of this year and as many as 100 million doses by the end of February.
Pfizer said in a statement on Thursday that it has successfully shipped 2.9 million doses that the federal government requested.
"We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses," the company added. "We remain confident in our ability to deliver up to 50 million doses globally this year and up to 1.3 billion next year, and we look forward to continuing to work with the US Government to deliver our vaccine to the American people."
According to the latest update from Johns Hopkins University, the United States has surpassed more than 17.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 309,000 Americans have died during the pandemic.