Walgreens and Uber are working together to address barriers that can prevent underserved communities from getting vaccinated against COVID-19. With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointing to such issues as vaccine hesitancy and lack of access to transportation among communities of color, the drug chain and the rideshare company will roll out several initiatives in the coming months around education and transportation.
“By combining Walgreens deep experience in community care with Uber’s transportation technology and logistics expertise, we will take bold action to address vaccine access and hesitancy among those hit hardest by the pandemic,” said John Standley, president of Walgreens.
One of the initiatives — which will be piloted in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston and El Paso, Texas, among other cities — will offer free transportation to Walgreens stores and offsite clinics as part of Uber’s push to provide as many as 10 million free or discounted rides to vaccination sites. Additionally, patients will be offered the ability to pre-schedule an Uber ride when a COVID-19 vaccine appointment is made, both via one-click on mobile and via email. Additionally, the companies will work with the Chicago Urban League on a new educational program meant to address vaccine hesitancy.
“Chicago Urban League is encouraged by Walgreens and Uber’s efforts to partner with organizations like ours that work tirelessly in the fight for equity and equality. We look forward to collaborating with them to help ensure vaccines reach into communities of color more equitably,” said Karen Freeman-Wilson, president & CEO, Chicago Urban League.
Uber’s partnership with the National Urban League is one of several is has established with organizations focused on breaking down transit barriers among underserved communities, including the National Action Network and the Morehouse School of Medicine.
Walgreens noted that while 80% of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a Walgreens pharmacy, it has recently begun expanding different models of care — including offsite clinics and mobile clinics — to ensure vaccine delivery in underserved and rural areas.