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Uber And Lyft Will Give Free Rides To COVID-19 Vaccination Spots, White House Says

People who need help getting to a vaccination site will be able to get free or discounted rides through Uber and Lyft, the White House says. Here, a woman receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Aberdeen, Md., after getting a ride to the site from her landlord.
People who need help getting to a vaccination site will be able to get free or discounted rides through Uber and Lyft, the White House says. Here, a woman receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Aberdeen, Md., after getting a ride to the site from her landlord.

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, in the latest push to encourage Americans to get vaccinated.

"The feature will launch in the next two weeks and run until July 4," the White House said.

People who want to use the program would need to select a vaccination site near them and then redeem the companies' offer of a free ride. The two ride-sharing firms will promote the offer in their apps.

The initiative is a new facet of President Biden's push to ensure 70% of all U.S. adults get at least one vaccine shot by July 4. The two companies are "driving America closer" to reaching that goal, the White House said.

More than 58% of American adults have now received at least one vaccination shot, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday. More than 44% of adults are fully vaccinated.

Lyft says it will offer a "ride code" to cover up to $15 of each trip to or from a vaccination site, adding that it 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, the company said.

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.

In Uber's earlier effort, the company 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.

In another part of the U.S. effort to make it easier for people to get vaccinated, the White House says the government will broker partnerships between retail pharmacies and community colleges, which will then host vaccination clinics for students, staff and local communities.

The U.S. has reported more than 32.7 million COVID-19 cases, including more than 582,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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