Uber, PayPal, and Walgreens teamed up with the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC) to provide free trips to COVID-19 vaccine sites. The joint Vaccine Access Fund invites customers to donate money to help folks in underserved communities get their jab.
You can give directly through the Uber, Uber Eats, or PayPal mobile apps (tap the donation message and choose your amount), or via the Vaccine Access Fund website. Riders do not need a credit card, smartphone, or Uber account to participate.
Launched with $11 million in its coffers, the Access Fund is managed by LISC, which will distribute money and bring rides to communities in need. The program, which is being piloted in Chicago, prioritizes Black and Latinx adults, people living on low incomes, and others for whom transportation is a barrier; it is expected to roll out to other parts of the country soon.
“Nobody should miss their opportunity to get the vaccine because they don’t have a ride—yet nearly half of Americans can’t access public transportation,” according to Julia Paige, director of social impact at Uber. “We’ve already begun to see the impact that providing access to rides is having,” she wrote in a blog post. “From Los Angeles to Jersey City, we have been working with cities and nonprofits to help provide rides to vaccination sites.”
When COVID-19 vaccine sites are no longer needed, any remaining money in the Access Fund will be used to “advance health equity in underserved communities,” including providing rides to medical appointments.
In Atlanta last month, Uber and Walgreens partnered with three churches to vaccinate nearly 5,000 people over three days. And, with the help of UNESCO, the rideshare service provided a million free trips to vaccination sites for teachers around the world. “Now, we hope to reach even more people in need with the Vaccine Access Fund,” Paige said.
Uber and Walgreens teamed up earlier this year to improve access to COVID-19 immunization through educational programs, technology solutions, and free transportation to clinics. Customers get one-click access to pre-schedule rides once a Walgreens vaccination appointment is confirmed. Meanwhile, Uber is making it easier for employees to find out when injections become available.
“We can all do our part. Give a ride. Get a ride. Let’s do what’s needed,” LISC President and CEO Lisa Glover said. “We are enormously grateful to Uber, PayPal, and Walgreens for their strong commitment to making this possible.”