Biden announces free Uber, Lyft rides to COVID-19 vaccine sites

Coronavirus

President Joe Biden speaks about the economy, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, May 10, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — President Joe Biden is highlighting new programs from ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to provide free rides to and from vaccination sites, as the pace of shots declines nationally and he looks to meet his July Fourth inoculation targets.

“We’re working hard to ensure transportation is less of a barrier when it comes to getting a COVID-19 vaccine,” Biden said in a statement on Twitter. “And I’m excited to share that starting May 24th, Uber and Lyft will offer everyone in America free rides to vaccination sites.”

The partnership with the ride-sharing companies marks the latest in a series of government-encouraged efforts to increase access to shots. It comes as Biden met virtually with a bipartisan group of governors Tuesday to share best practices for encouraging Americans to get vaccinated.

“I think that’s really stepping up,” Biden said of the partnership with the ride-sharing companies.

“We have to make it easier and more convenient for all Americans to get vaccinated,” Biden said, as he met with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, all Republicans, as well as Democratic Govs. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Janet Mills of Maine and Tim Walz of Minnesota.

Biden also announced new funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for community outreach efforts to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, as well as a new initiative to host federally supported vaccination sites at community colleges.

Biden’s meeting comes a week after he set a new goal of delivering at least one dose of vaccine to 70% of adult Americans by Independence Day and fully vaccinating at least 160 million by then.

“The vaccine is the key to getting us all moving again, and we’re proud to do our part to move the country forward,” John Zimmer, co-founder and president of Lyft, said in a statement. “We’ve always believed transportation has the power to improve people’s lives, and this initiative makes that truer than ever. We’re grateful to the Biden Administration for prioritizing access.”

The nation’s vaccination rate has dramatically slowed in recent weeks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of about 730,000 Americans are getting their first dose of vaccine daily, down from a peak of more than 1.9 million per day a month ago.

Earlier this month, scientists and public health experts said they believe that herd immunity can’t be reached in the U.S. due to the dropping COVID-19 vaccination rates, according to a report from The New York Times.

According to the experts who spoke with the Times, the coronavirus will more likely become a constant but manageable threat in the U.S. for several more years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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