Residents who do not drive are more likely to miss health-care appointments, so the ride-share program is helping them get to vaccination sites.
By Ayanna Bonds
As the COVID-19 vaccine is becoming more available to the masses, some people are still having difficulties getting to vaccination sites. Especially people who do not have a car.
“Getting the vaccine starts with getting to the vaccine,” said Van Pierszalowski, Lyft community organizer.
Lyft, a ride sharing service, has partnered with Community Build to provide South Los Angeles residents with free rides to vaccination sites.
“We know that transportation is a blocker for so many people for a variety of needs, including health care,” Pierszalowski said. “There was a recent study that showed that a third of Medicare and Medicaid recipients have missed appointments or missed prescription refills because they lacked the transportation to get to the location. So with a vaccination effort as large as the one that we’re in now, we quickly realized that the transportation blocker for that will be huge.”
South Los Angeles residents with vaccine appointments who have the Lyft app on their smartphones can log onto www.vaccinerydes.com to register for a Lyft code to provide free round trip transportation to their vaccine appointment within a 10 mile radius.
Residents who are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine who do not have an appointment can call 877-VAC-RYDE to schedule a vaccine appointment and free roundtrip transportation via Lyft to a designated vaccination site. Community Build has partnered with several South Los Angeles vaccination sites to provide appointments to local residents.
California COVID -19 vaccination eligibility expanded to residents who are older than 16.
According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, since March 2020, there have been 1.2 million cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles County, resulting in over 23,000 deaths. The Pfizer, Maderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines currently available are highly effective in preventing the disease, hospitalization and death. Since the Federal Drug Administration’s approval of the vaccines earlier this year, over 2.4 million people in Los Angeles County have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Less than six percent of those vaccinated reside in South Los Angeles and other underserved communities.
“We are grateful to partner with Lyft and become a part of the solution to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community,” said Robert Sausedo, President of Community Build. “The free Lyft rides to vaccine appointments will be a major effort towards bringing vaccine equity to South Los Angeles and a step closer towards herd immunity. No one is safe until everyone is vaccinated.”
To learn more about how Lyft is helping people book vaccine rides visit www.lyft.com. For more information on scheduling vaccine appointments and free Lyft rides to vaccine appointments for residents of South Los Angeles, visit www.vaccinerydes.com or call (877) 822-7933. For more information about Community Build, visit www.communitybuildinc.org.