The U.S. has reported more than 32.7 million COVID-19 cases, including more than 585,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Anyone needing a ride to get a COVID-19 vaccine shot will be able to get a free trip from the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, the White House announced Tuesday. “The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4,” the White House said. Uber and Lyft will provide free rides to vaccination sites beginning May 24. The agreement is intended to help the declining pace of immunizations and reach President Biden’s goal of inoculating 70 percent of American adults by July 4. That number stands at 58%, White House coronavirus task force director Jeffrey Zients said.
How Will The Program Work?
To use the program select a vaccination site near you and then redeem the companies’ offer of a free ride. The two ride-sharing firms will promote the offer in their apps. Lyft will offer a “ride code,” covering up to $15 of each trip to or from a vaccination site. Lyft expects the code will erase “most, if not all, of riders’ fares.” The offer covers daytime rides on bikes and scooters, as well as in cars. People will be able to sign up for their ride code by May 24. Uber did not immediately provide details about its plan, but both Uber and Lyft have previously pledged to offer millions of rides to people who need help getting to a vaccine appointment. Uber promised to provide up to 10 million free or discounted rides to help people get vaccinated, particularly “communities of color that have been disproportionately hurt by the pandemic,” as the company said in December. Some states are giving major incentives to people for getting the vaccine.
Incentives For Vaccines
Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia has started to experiment with incentives that could sway reluctant or uninterested Americans. Governor Justice said the state would give $100 savings bonds to young people who get vaccinated. Officials are still trying to work out the details of the program. In New York, officials are offering free rail and subway tickets with vaccinations. The governors who met virtually with the president had ideas of their own. Governor Janet Mills told President Biden Maine would offer vouchers to L.L. Bean, free fishing and hunting licenses, and tickets to local sporting events as incentives. “We’re calling this ‘your shot to get outdoors,’” Governor Mills said. Biden seemed amused by the idea, replying, “My guess is that’s probably going to work.” McDonald’s said it was partnering with the Biden administration on a campaign to promote vaccination. Starting in July, coffee cups and delivery stickers will direct customers to vaccines.gov. New Jersey offered a “shot and a beer” for residents who get their first vaccine dose in May and visit participating breweries in the state. Biden is set to announce funding that will be “immediately available” through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The funds will be used to fund state efforts to promote vaccinations in their communities, including door-to-door canvassing and pop-up vaccination sites in workplaces and churches.
In that same meeting other initiatives were detailed as well, including an effort to create vaccination sites at community colleges and to send FEMA officials around the country to encourage people to receive a shot. The announcement marked an aggressive new phase of the administration’s efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy and expand access. “We’re going to be able to take a serious step toward returning to normalcy by Independence Day,” Biden said, referring to a goal he set in March. “And there’s a lot of work to do though to get there. But I believe we can get there.” What do you think about states offering incentives in exchange for people getting the vaccine?
Written by: Erinn Malloy