Updated: February 11, 2021 05:51 PM
Created: February 11, 2021 04:31 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. WHEC) — Uber and Walgreens are teaming up to make it easier for people in underserved communities to get to vaccination sites.
The companies announced earlier this week that Uber will offer free or discounted rides to Walgreens stores and offsite vaccine clinics for those who book an appointment and live in underserved communities. In December, the rideshare company committed up to 10 million free or discounted rides.
"What excites me more is the potential of partnerships and that's what we need," Urban League of Rochester's President and CEO Seanelle Hawkins said. "That's the key to successfully distributing the COVID vaccine."
The pilot program will start in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and El Paso, Texas, before expanding to other cities.
"We know COVID-19 hit our Black and Brown communities the hardest, so we have to make sure that those communities are not left behind, are not left out," Hawkins said. "We have to make sure that those communities have access, information, and they are able to get vaccinated."
Data continues to show that people of color are vaccinated at lower rates than white people. One of the big reasons for this is transportation.
Wade Norwood, CEO of Common Ground Health and a member of the Finger Lakes COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, says transportation and access have always been a problem for lower-income rural residents in Rochester.
"Transportation remains always a problem for access to needed services," Norwood said. "I think as important as it is for us to think about ways to help people get to centralized sites, it's more important for us to think about how we can get the vaccine to where the people are."
If and when this program comes to Rochester, Hawkins and Norwood are ready to get involved to ensure community members have the option to get vaccinated.
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