Emergency room nurse David Wilson receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, right, looks on outside the Chatham County Health Department on December 15, 2020 in Savannah, Georgia. Sean Rayford/Getty Images Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Uber and Walgreens partnered up to help minority communities receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Uber will offer free rides, and Walgreens will provide education and access.
Underserved communities haven’t received their share of vaccine doses, according to Kaiser data.
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Uber and Walgreens are teaming up to distribute the vaccine to underserved communities by offering free rides and education to the communities who haven’t received their share of doses, the companies said in a joint statement on Tuesday.
As COVID-19 vaccines become widely available at retail pharmacies across the country starting February 11, the two companies partnered up to help “drive equitable access” to the shots as health organizations point to a disparity in who is receiving the majority of doses. Walgreens President John Standley said the companies are each using their expertise to “take bold action to address vaccine access and hesitancy among those hit hardest by the pandemic.”
Uber is offering new in-app features to help people see when vaccines are available. The ride-sharing app also is providing a one-click tool to pre-schedule rides once a vaccination appointment is made. Then Uber will give free transportation to patients on their way to Walgreens and other clinics in cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and El Paso, as part of its commitment to give 10 million pro bono or discounted rides to vaccination appointments.
Walgreens and its subsidiary Duane Reade can provide the shots starting February 11 as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination. The company, for its part, also will provide a new educational program with the National Urban League to address vaccine hesitancy.
Read more: What’s coming next for COVID-19 vaccines? Here’s the latest on 11 leading programs.
Black and Hispanic people are receiving smaller shares of vaccinations relative to the higher number of COVID-19 cases and deaths the population has faced and to their total share of the population, according to Kaiser Family Foundation, which received vaccination data by race and ethnicity from just 23 states. The numbers raised “early concerns about disparities” in vaccinations, though it’s subject to limitations as not every state reported the information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded demographic data from the first month of vaccine distribution, in which almost 13 million people across the country received one or more shots of the two-dose vaccinations. Data on race and ethnicity was recorded for only 52% of the doses, while sex and age were reported for nearly all. Of the data recorded, the CDC found 60.4% of people receiving the vaccine were non-Hispanic White.
Since the two-shot COVID-19 vaccines, one from Pfizer and BioNTech and the other from Moderna, were approved in mid-December, about 32 million people, or about 10% of the population, have received one or more shots, CDC data shows. According to Bloomberg, more people in the U.S. have received the vaccine in the last week than have tested positive for COVID-19, as the Biden administration seeks to get enough doses to vaccinate the entire population by the end of the summer.
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