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Washington Department of Health to offer Uber, Lyft codes to vaccine appointments

The initiative is meant to help remove transportation barriers for people who haven't been vaccinated yet, according to DOH officials.

WASHINGTON, USA — The Washington state Department of Health (DOH) is partnering with Lyft and Uber to get people to their vaccine appointments. 

The initiative is meant to help remove transportation barriers for people who haven't been vaccinated yet, according to Dan Laster, Director of the Vaccine Action Command and Coordination for Washington. 

Starting Monday, May 10th, people who are resource constrained can call in to the Department of Health's vaccine hotline, 833-VAX-HELP, and get a code to use for a free ride to a vaccine appointment through Lyft and Uber.

Uber is also partnering with Sea Mar Community Health Centers, Country Doctor Community Health Center, Yakima Neighborhood Health Center, Peninsula Community Health Services, and HealthPoint International Community Health Services to provide rides to patients seeking vaccines, according to Laster. 

The initiative comes as the DOH has seen slowdown in vaccination rates and numbers in Washington State. Officials said in a press briefing Wednesday they're in the process of shifting the vaccine rollout to target those who may have difficulties accessing the vaccine. 

"So we are trying, across the state of Washington, to reduce barriers and make it a level playing field for all Washingtonians to get vaccinated," Laster said.

In December 2020, Uber and Lyft offered 10 million and 60 million free rides respectively to those heading to their COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The offers were aimed at getting low-income, uninsured and at-risk communities to and from their appointments. 

Previously, the Department of Health announced anyone seeking a vaccine could ride for free on Pierce and Sound Transit.