While the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available and doesn’t cost a penny, however those who may need a free ride to a vaccination clinic need to act quickly.
Ridesharing services Uber and Lyft have been offering free and discounted rides to and from the vaccine sites since late May. Those benefits end July 4. Sun Metro and Project Amistad will continue to provide free rides to vaccine appointments.
Officials share that El Paso County is on a strong path to getting most of our community vaccinated with more than 62 percent of residents 12 and older fully vaccinated. Our workforce is at greatest risk, however, with lowest vaccine rates among men ages 18 to 40.
“The best way to celebrate Independence Day on July 4th will be the peace of mind that you can spend time with friends and family without getting or spreading COVID-19. Young men are at risk for the COVID variants spreading aggressively among unvaccinated populations,” said Renee Orrantia, Public Health Program Manager for the American Heart Association.
“To protect yourself from COVID-19 and from any of the variants that are circulating, get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you and complete the vaccine series to ensure full protection. Getting the COVID-19 vaccination remains the best defense against infection. Until you’re fully vaccinated, you’re not using all the tools available to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community.”
For the unvaccinated, especially those with compromised immune systems, contracting COVID-19 or its variants can be fatal. More than 600,000 Americans have died from COVID since the pandemic began. Many people who survive still require hospitalization for debilitating symptoms that can last for weeks, resulting in medical bills, lost wages, and isolation from unvaccinated loved ones.
Earlier this year people who wanted vaccines endured waits for appointments and long lines at vaccine sites. Now most sites can schedule same-day appointments or offer vaccine services with no waiting.
“The time to get vaccinated is now,” Orrantia said. “For people who lack transportation to a vaccination site, the Lyft and Uber services have supplemented Sun Metro and Project Amistad’s efforts to remove that barrier.”
Here’s how to take advantage of free transportation to vaccination centers:
- UBER offers rides to and from a vaccine site. Use the VACCINE button on the Uber app to find and schedule an appointment near you. The app will indicate whether a vaccine site offers shots to walk-in clients. Uber also accepts donations through its Vaccine Access Fund to pay drivers who transport vaccine patients. This offer expires July 4.
- LYFT offers free and discounted rides to vaccine sites. The maximum discount is $15 per ride. Visit Lyft.com/vaccine-access and follow the on-screen prompts. This offer expires July 4.
- Project Amistad offers transport for county residents living outside the City’s municipal boundaries to vaccine sites for seniors, individuals with disabilities and individuals with transportation challenges. Riders must call 24 hours before their appointment to arrange pick-up. For information, call 915-21-COVID.
- Sun Metro provides free rides to and from vaccination sites at the El Paso County Coliseum and the Convention Center and the West Side Vaccination Site. Clients must provide proof of an appointment, can be printed or provided on digital device. For more details, call 915-21-COVID.