Uber, Walgreens to offer free rides to COVID-19 vaccination appointments in underserved communities

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Uber Technologies Inc. launched a partnership Tuesday aimed at getting more COVID-19 vaccine shots in the arms of people living in underserved communities.

A Walgreens spokeswoman confirmed to CNBC that the pilot program could begin offering free rides as early as next week to people who book vaccination appointments but cannot access transportation to a Walgreens store or clinic to receive their inoculations.

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The pilot program will roll out in Atlanta first, with Chicago, Houston and El Paso following suit before expanding to other cities.

According to CNBC, the partnership represents the fulfilment of a pledge Uber made in December to offer 10 million free or discounted rides to ensure access to transportation does not impede access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Per the arrangement, once an individual has a confirmed appointment at Walgreens or an offsite clinic run by the company, an email with an offer to schedule a free ride will be sent, the network reported.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens and Uber also plan to work with the National Urban League to address vaccine hesitancy through an educational program.

President Joe Biden announced last week that his administration was preparing to launch direct shipments of COVID-19 vaccine doses to an estimated 6,500 pharmacies nationwide, with plans to expand those shipments to 40,000 retail locations.

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