Uber asks DeSantis to prioritize COVID vaccine for Florida drivers


Saying drivers and delivery people have been a “lifeline to their communities,” Uber’s chief executive officer on Thursday asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to prioritize the COVID-19 vaccine for the online platform’s workers.

“Over the last nine months, these workers have been a lifeline to their communities. They have transported healthcare workers to hospitals, delivered food to people socially distancing at home, and helped local restaurants stay in business,” CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in a letter to DeSantis.

“And while earlier this year Uber committed to funding 10 million free rides and deliveries for healthcare workers, seniors, and people in need, it was ultimately drivers and delivery people who made it happen. As you finalize your state-level allocation and distribution plans, I encourage you to recognize the essential nature of their work. I want to ensure these individuals can receive immunizations quickly, easily and for free, and I offer Uber’s assistance to you in making that a reality.”

During a White House event Tuesday, DeSantis outlined a plan for distributing vaccines, including vaccinating seniors in nursing homes before the end of December and quickly getting vaccines into the hands of “high-contact” front line health-care workers in five urban areas.

In the letter, Khosrowshahi said Uber can use its technology to disseminate information about vaccinations and help with driving people to get vaccinated.

“We also believe that we can use our technology to remove transportation barriers faced by individuals who will need to travel to their vaccination appointments, especially those in higher-risk groups and in communities of color, which have borne the disproportionate brunt of this pandemic,” the letter said. “This is particularly critical given the importance of ensuring people who receive a first round of the vaccine return for their second and final shot.”

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