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Uber offering free rides to boost vaccine access for Black community

Updated April 20, 2021 - 7:08 pm

Uber is offering up 17,800 free and discounted round-trip rides to encourage more members of the African American community to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The ride hailing giant announced Monday they it will offer free rides from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday to residents in areas that have noted vaccine disparities.

Those locations include communities in the 89110, 89108, 89115, 89030, 89121, 89031, 89032, and 89122 zip codes. The Southern Nevada Health District’s data shows those eight zip codes have the highest number of COVID-19 related cases since the pandemic began.

The free and discounted rides will take interested parties to the Nevada Partners vaccination site in North Las Vegas.

Residents must first secure an appointment before scheduling their ride with Uber.

The first 5,000 people who sign up for the offer will receive free rides to Nevada Partners and back home. The next 12,800 people that sign up will get two rides each at a 50-percent discount.

Clark County officials noted that several factors contribute to the lower coronavirus response rates among the Black community, including socioeconomic status, lack of access to health care/vaccination distribution sites, exposure to the virus tied to their occupation, lack of information about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines and historical mistrust and skepticism among African Americans in the health care system.

“We are grateful Uber has joined the ‘Back to Life’ effort to allow for more Black residents to obtain much-needed vaccines,” said Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy II in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought existing health disparities to the forefront, and African Americans in our community are experiencing more cases, mortality rates, and hospitalizations from COVID-19. Partners like Uber are extremely generous and helpful in saving lives during this pandemic.”

In addition to Nevada Partners, Faith Organizing Alliance and the African Diaspora of Las Vegas will also help identify individuals needing Uber rides to the vaccination site.

“Providing transportation alleviates one of the hurdles community members face and truly empowers them to make informed decisions about their health in a more holistic manner,” Monica Ford, president of Nevada Partners said in a statement.

To obtain the Uber code for free or discounted rides residents can call Nevada Partners at 702-844-8000. Residents who do not have the Uber app can still call Nevada Partners for assistance.

Uber’s offer is valid through Sept. 30, 2021, or until the free and discounted rides are used up.

“Uber is committed to supporting programs like the ‘Back to Life’ campaign that help ensure Nevada residents can be vaccinated quickly and equitably,” said Javi Correoso, a spokesperson for the ride-share service.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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