WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden announced a partnership with ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft to offer free rides to vaccination sites to help meet his target of 70% of U.S. adults getting at least one vaccine shot by July 4.
The president announced the partnership, along with other steps the administration is taking to encourage Americans to get vaccinated, at a virtual meeting with a bipartisan group of governors Tuesday afternoon. The feature is expected to launch May 24 and run through July 4.
“I think that is really stepping up,” Biden said. ”
Biden unveiled a partnership to open vaccination sites at the nation’s largest community colleges to provide shots for students, staff and local residents throughout May and June.
More:New Lyft program lets users book a ride to get their COVID-19 vaccine or fund a ride for others
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The president also made funding from his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, which was signed into law in March, immediately available to state, territorial, Tribal and local governments to promote community outreach and to assist people in getting vaccinated.
State and local community leaders can use the billions in funding, which will be provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, for vaccine education efforts, contacting residents to fill vaccination appointments and working with employers to get their employees vaccinated off-site or by setting up a pop-up vaccination clinic at work.
“This will help states thrive … territories local governments and community and faith-based organizations to make more progress on the ground,” Biden said.
In March, Lyft partnered with non-profit groups including United Way Worldwide, the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging, the NAACP, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Down Syndrome Society to fund rides to help people in low-income communities get inoculated.
Biden is meeting virtually with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Maine Gov. Janet Mills, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and New Mexico Gov. Lujan Grisham to share best practices of how they’ve encouraged residents to get vaccinated.
“Governors in so many states, particularly the six that are here, have been essential partners in this effort and they know it isn’t about politics. It’s about saving lives and livelihoods, rebuilding our economy and getting us back to our way of life,” Biden said.
More than half of all residents in Massachusetts, Maine and New Mexico have gotten at least one shot, ranking those states in the top 10. Ohio and Utah are in the bottom half of states for vaccination rates.
Contributing: Maureen Groppe