The Lyft and Uber ridesharing companies announced new features that may aid in getting people to vaccination sites amid the pandemic.
The “Rides for Others” and “Lyft Family” features were launched by Lyft, Friday, with the intention of helping users more easily request rides for others, particularly older adults who may otherwise struggle with the app.
“Right now, millions of older Americans are facing transportation issues in trying to get to their vaccination appointments. Equipping caregivers with the tools they need to ensure their loved ones can access essential medical care is critical to beating this virus,” Megan Callahan, VP of Lyft Healthcare said in a statement. “We know that access to reliable transportation can have a direct impact on health outcomes, and we’re proud of the products and partnerships we’re building to ensure equitable access to vaccines for the people who need them most.”
The new features allow users to add others to their account, order a ride for others and track the driver’s trip.
Uber sidesharing launched its own vaccine-focused initiative this week, teaming with Walgreens to give users free rides to their vaccination appointments at the pharmacy.
Walgreens pointed to the CDC’s finding that transportation has been a “barrier” for Americans trying to get the vaccine and their partnership with Uber aids in that regard.
“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,” Walgreens president John Standley said in a statement.
The city of Los Angeles used up its supply of vaccines on Thursday and was forced to shut down its city-run centers for the weekend, although several L.A. County-run vaccination sites are still offering second doses to healthcare workers and those over 64-years old.
On Thursday, L.A. County reported 3,497 new single-day cases of COVID-19 and 137 single-day deaths.