Walgreens and Uber join forces to address barriers to COVID-19 vaccine equity

Feb. 12, 2021

Walgreens and Uber Technologies, Inc. announced that they have entered into an agreement to help drive equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines among underserved communities, announced Walgreens in a press release. Together, Uber and Walgreens will address common barriers to health equity including education, access and technology.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points to many interrelated factors that hinder vaccine access for communities of color, including vaccine hesitancy and lack of access to transportation. Walgreens and Uber are addressing these barriers through the development of educational programs with community leaders and organizations, technology solutions that make it easier to connect people with vaccine appointments, and free transportation to Walgreens vaccine clinics among socially vulnerable communities.

Walgreens and Uber will roll out several initiatives over the coming months as vaccines become available for mass distribution including: 

·        Free transportation to Walgreens stores and offsite vaccine clinics as part of a larger commitment by Uber to provide up to 10 million free or discounted rides to vaccinations.

·         Pilot transportation programs will begin in cities including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and El Paso.

·         New in-app features designed to more seamlessly connect people, including active drivers, delivery people, and freight carriers using Uber, Uber Eats or Uber Freight, with vaccines when they become more readily available.

·         Discussions underway for a new educational program with the Chicago Urban League 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.

In December, Uber committed up to 10 million free or discounted rides to help ensure transportation is not a barrier to getting a vaccine. Targeting communities hardest hit by the pandemic, Uber partnered with the National Urban League, National Action Network, and the Morehouse School of Medicine. Uber will continue to build a broad coalition of organizations committed to breaking down transportation barriers in these communities.

While nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Walgreens pharmacy, the company has recently expanded different models of care to ensure the delivery of vaccines in underserved and rural areas, such as mobile and off-site clinics. Additionally, more than 70 percent of Walgreens COVID testing sites are in socially vulnerable areas.

Walgreens has the release.

More COVID-19 coverage HERE.