The initiative extends an existing arrangement between the nation’s largest app for rides and the second-largest pharmacy chain. Uber and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. began offering free and discounted rides to Walgreens vaccine clinics, aiming to vaccinate essential workers and accelerate distribution. Uber introduced a similar program for some drivers in Puerto Rico last month.
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The pandemic decimated ride demand over the last year. In recent weeks, those numbers have begun to bounce back as vaccination rates have increased and normal activities are returning. More than a billion vaccine doses have been given globally, over 230 million of them administered in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
America’s second-largest ride-hailing provider, Lyft Inc., said last year it would provide 60 million rides to and from vaccine sites in low income, uninsured and at-risk communities through an arrangement with Anthem Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and United Way. Lyft later partnered with CVS Health Corp. and the YMCA to reach more people.
Uber declined to say when it would facilitate vaccinations outside of the U.S. Sundeep Jain, the chief product officer, acknowledged that India, Brazil and other countries where Uber operates are facing severe outbreaks. “We are aggressively and actively working on partnerships outside of the United States,” Jain said.