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United Way, 211, Regence Utah offering free rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites

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Posted at 12:40 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 14:40:32-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Getting a ride to a vaccination appointment just got easier, as the United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) and Utah 211 have launched the "Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign" which will give free rides to COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Salt Lake County and surrounding areas.

UWSL is partnering with Lyft and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah in this campaign to help underserved populations who cannot otherwise find a way to get to vaccination sites. This is the latest implementation of the "Ride United" program that helps people without easy access to transportation get rides to jobs, health care, and continuing education, among other options.

Late last year, Lyft announced its initiative to help local groups offer rides to vaccination appointments around the country. Utah 211 and Ride United are Lyft's Utah partners to ensure that no one is denied a COVID-19 vaccine simply because they have no way to get to a vaccination site.
(Utah 211 is a statewide information referral service that offers housing and utility assistance, food resources, legal aid, and other services.)

“Utah 211 understands the barriers that contribute to the community’s social determinants of health. The Ride United Vaccine Access program allows Utah 211 to connect more Utahns to COVID vaccination appointments, bridging gaps and inequities that contribute to health disparities,” says Beth Martial, managing director of Utah 211.

This free service is available in nine Utah counties: Box Elder, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, Washington, and Weber. Rides can be scheduled up to a week in advance through Utah 211. Riders should call 211 or visit their website for more information.

UWSL's Ride United Vaccine Access program is funded by Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah in an effort to help at-risk communities receiveprotection against COVID-19.

“As more COVID-19 vaccine doses become available in Utah, we’re working on several fronts to help increase vaccinations throughout the state,” said Jim Swayze, president of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah. “I’m especially grateful to partner with United Way of Salt Lake and Utah 211 in a collaborative effort to support underserved communities in particular and get the vaccine into the arms of more people who want it.”