April 12, 2021 at 09:33PM

Uber, PayPal and Walgreens have launched a coalition to help people without transportation connect to COVID-19 vaccines, the companies announced Monday (April 12) in a press release.

The three firms are together seeding the Vaccine Access Fund with $11 million to help people in underserved communities get to vaccination sites. People can donate to the fund via the PayPal Giving Fund or from within the Uber app, the release stated.

Nearly 50 percent of people in the U.S. don’t live near public transportation, which makes it almost impossible for them to get to medical facilities for routine care, according to the release. Further, underserved communities have been hit especially hard by the pandemic.

The Vaccine Access Fund will be managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a national community development group. LISC will assist local nonprofits in coordinating no-cost transportation for people who need it in their communities, the release stated. Any money left over will be used by the coalition to help people in need get a ride to a doctor’s office or other medical appointments.

The COVID-19 vaccination effort is the biggest ever attempted in the U.S. When vaccinations first started rolling out, logistics challenges slowed distribution more than anticipated, particularly last-mile delivery. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy blamed the federal government for failing to address the issues surrounding scale and distribution and each state’s varying laws.

PYMNTS data showed that as more people want to get vaccinated, supply might not be able to keep up with demand. Additionally, people seeking the vaccine are most likely to be digital-first and more likely to maintain habits that arose from the pandemic, according to the data.

PayPal signed on in February to assist Uber in its campaign to offer free and discounted rides to vaccination sites. It made a $5 million corporate donation and pledged to help Uber connect people with rides. In December, the rideshare giant said it would offer up to 10 million free or discounted rides to ensure transportation wasn’t a barrier to getting vaccinated.

Uber, PayPal, Walgreens Team To Connect People With Vaccines …

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