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United Way’s new partnership with Lyft provides free rides to vaccination sites

Ride United removes the transportation barrier some community members face when trying to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo via Jacob Blankenship for Bham Now)

By Irene Richardson


Local organizations are finding solutions to prevent barriers unvaccinated residents face when trying to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) is tackling the transportation side in partnership with Lyft. Learn more about the Ride United Vaccine Access campaign and how it’s providing free and discounted rides to Jefferson County through the ride-share app.

If you’re unfamiliar, Ride United is an initiative from United Way born out of the need for safe, reliable transportation to jobs, doctors’ offices, food sources and more. It became key during COVID-19, as access to these necessities was even more limited.

In addition to providing all the above services, it will now give residents free and discounted rides to vaccination sites across Jefferson County in partnership with Lyft.

“We are proud to have the Ride United Transportation Access Vaccine program in Jefferson County to meet this unmet transportation need,” said President of United Way of Central Alabama, Drew Langloh. “We are glad we can support equitable vaccine access.”

It’s as easy as dialing three numbers! Call 2-1-1, UWCA’s Information and Referral Center, and ask for information about eligible vaccine sites near your location.

The 2-1-1 Call Center is a service directing people toward resources when they’re facing a difficult situation. You can also reach out to the number if you or someone you know is seeking information about:

  • Food banks
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Crisis intervention

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, over 42 percent of Jefferson County residents have at least one COVID-19 vaccine. With 58 percent of greater Birmingham unvaccinated, our more vulnerable residents are at a higher risk of contracting the disease.

Many members of our community are homebound. Others don’t have cars, drive, or live near public transit, family or friends who could bring them to a site. Ride United will alleviate this issue so that everyone has access to healthcare.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama and the Alabama Department of Senior Services provided initial funding for Ride United. Learn more about Ride United, the FREE services it provides to those in need and consider donating to this and other transportation need services.

Get involved with United Way of Central Alabama through their website and when you follow them on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

For more on the modern, mobile guide to Birmingham, visit www.bhamnow.com