Free rides to get vaccinated

Jersey City partners with Uber to provide free rides to frontline workers and seniors

Frontline workers and those over 75 can book free rides to and from vaccination centers with Uber. Photo by MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com
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Frontline workers and those over 75 can book free rides to and from vaccination centers with Uber. Photo by MikeDotta / Shutterstock.com

Mayor Steven Fulop is joining forces with Uber on a new agreement that will expand residents’ access to COVID-19 vaccinations with free rides to and from Jersey City vaccination sites.

At the start of Phase 1B, which includes essential frontline workers and seniors 75 years old and over, the city will provide 12,000 free roundtrip rides to residents who will benefit most from avoiding crowded mass transit or may not otherwise have the means to travel to get a vaccine.

The roundtrip rides will help alleviate concerns over exposure and cost to encourage those most vulnerable for COVID-19 to get vaccinated.

“We’ve been successful in utilizing our community partnerships to create innovative solutions to meet various challenges exacerbated by this pandemic, and this latest joint venture with Uber will provide our seniors and frontline workers with free, safe, and direct access to lifesaving vaccinations,” Fulop said. “I’m extremely grateful for Uber’s generosity, which will ultimately encourage more people to get vaccinated early.”

Eligible residents can indicate they need a free Uber ride when scheduling their vaccination appointment with the city. The city will provide promo codes to residents when they book their rides through the Uber app to cover the cost of the ride.

‘Uber Health’

For those who do not have access to the company’s app, Uber will provide the city with a dedicated platform called “Uber Health,” where Health and Human Services staff can book rides for residents.

“Leveraging our platform to help communities and small businesses during the pandemic has been our company’s primary focus in recent months, and this groundbreaking partnership with Mayor Fulop and Jersey City fits that mission perfectly,” said Alix Anfang, spokesperson for Uber New Jersey. “We’re excited to work closely with one of the state’s most innovative cities to help fulfill its goal of equitably and efficiently distributing vaccinations to the most vulnerable residents, regardless of their access to transportation.” 

The Jersey City Health Department has been working to establish a comprehensive vaccination program, carefully preparing for the municipal rollout so that the city can immediately start administering vaccines once the state delivers them.

This week the city council will vote on a resolution that would ratify an emergency contract award to BeSpoke Health, extending BeSpoke’s contract to manage the COVID-19 vaccination efforts as part of the city’s ongoing response to the pandemic.

The city’s vaccine scheduling portal will be available through through HHS once the federal government opens vaccinations to Phase 1B.  For more information visit www.jerseycitynj.gov/vaccine.

The city’s first vaccination site is the Mary McLeod Bethune Life Center, on Martin Luther King Drive, with sites expanding to all six wards as more people get vaccinated under federal guidelines.

Jersey City is offering informational workshops about the vaccine to all Phase 1A residents, and will extend availability according to the federally phased allocation.

As of Jan. 12, 1,800 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in Jersey City. Since the start of the pandemic, 16,192 residents have tested positive, and 597 have died.  

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.