Rideshare giants Uber and Lyft are executing separate strategies to assist in raising awareness about the coronavirus vaccine while also assisting in expanding the number of people vaccinated.
Uber, which has been lobbying for its workers to be prioritized for inoculations, is partnering with coronavirus vaccine manufacturer Moderna to brainstorm ways to reach more people, according to a Tuesday (Jan. 12) press release.
Meanwhile Uber joined its rival Lyft in petitioning President-elect Biden’s administration to assist in expanding the distribution of the vaccine, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Lyft executives and the Biden transition team met last month regarding the allocation of federal monies to pay for transportation related to COVID-19 vaccinations, Megan Callahan, head of Lyft’s healthcare unit, told the WSJ. The company’s healthcare division offers non-emergency medical rides and Callahan said there are many at-risk populations that have little to no means of transportation.
“What we’ve come to understand is this is a really large problem from a logistics standpoint,” Callahan said, referring to Lyft’s talks with health officials, medical directors and pharmacy retailers.
Lyft partnered with J.P. Morgan, United Way and Anthem late last year to offer high-risk, low-income, uninsured people transportation to vaccine sites. Around that time, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi sent a letter to Biden offering to transport people and share information, the WSJ reported.
“Transportation should never be a barrier to getting the COVID-19 vaccine,” Julia Paige, head of social impact at Uber, said in the letter reviewed by the Journal. The company is offering 10 million free rides to administration sites.
In its partnership with Moderna, Uber said the companies will collaborate to communicate credible vaccine information using the rideshare giant’s in-app messaging capabilities. The two firms are also planning to strategize with public health officials and related organizations, to expand widespread access to vaccinations.
“Used by millions of people every day, the Uber platform can both help educate the public about vaccine safety and help eliminate transportation barriers to vaccination. Together with Moderna, we hope to do our part to help increase vaccination awareness and adoption,” said Khosrowshahi, per the release.
He added that they are both especially concerned with ensuring the hardest-hit communities have access to a vaccine.
Biden has outlined his mission to administer 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in office and will invoke the Defense Authorization Act to step up production for materials needed for the vaccines and protective equipment for healthcare workers.
Logistical problems have slowed the initial rollout of the vaccine, with just 25.4 million doses being distributed and 8.9 million shots administered. The country had set a goal of vaccinating 20 million people by the end of 2020 and 20 million by the end of this month.
PYMNTS data shows that as of November, 38.4 percent of survey respondents said they would not or likely would not get the vaccine.