May 11, 2021 - Health

Biden reaches agreements with Uber and Lyft to give free rides to vaccine sites

The Biden administration has reached agreements with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to coronavirus vaccination sites through July 4, the White House announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: The free rides, starting in the next two weeks, are part of the Biden administration's push to administer at least one vaccine dose to 70% of U.S. adults by Independence Day.

How it works: A new feature will allow app users 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," according to the White House.

  • Lyft and Uber are not being paid by the federal government for the rides, but the Biden administration is sharing data on about 80,000 vaccination sites around the country as part of the partnerships, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Context: The agreement comes as several states have requested fewer vaccine doses as demand for shots has plummeted.

  • It may be more difficult to administer future doses since people who are enthusiastic about getting vaccinated have likely already received at least one dose.
  • More than 46% of Americans have received at least one dose, while 34.8% are fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg's vaccine tracker.

What they're saying: "Helping more Americans get vaccinated helps the Lyft community of drivers and riders, and we’re grateful to the Biden administration for prioritizing access," John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, told the Journal.

  • “Vaccines are our best hope to beat this pandemic, and soon everyone in America will be able to take a free Uber to get their shot," Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also told the Journal.

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