Ride-share companies Uber and Lyft are part of the latest effort to get the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of more people, including homebound seniors.
Earlier this week President Joseph Biden announced a partnership with the two companies that will offer free rides to and from vaccination sites in an effort to get 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated by Independence Day. The program will launch May 24 and run through July 4.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a little more than one-third of U.S. adults have gotten the vaccine, while more than two-thirds of people 65 and older have been vaccinated.
Earlier this month, nonprofit Trust for America’s Health issued a report criticizing federal, state, and local governments for failing to partner with healthcare agencies and community groups to identify and vaccinate the homebound. The report said at least 2 million older adults are homebound but did not say how many had not yet been vaccinated. Harvard Medical School professor Christine Ritchie, M.D., told the Associated Press there could be another 5 million people who have trouble leaving their homes or need assistance getting vaccinated.
Ongoing in-home vaccination effort
In the past few months, a number of organizations including nonprofit senior agencies, healthcare providers and insurers have launched in-home vaccination programs.
In early April, PACE at ArchCare in New York began vaccinating home-bound seniors in the New York metropolitan area. On Thursday, Jacqueline Adam-Menard, Assistant Vice President of PACE at ArchCare told McKnight’s Home Care Daily “the response has been very positive.”
In late April, The Visiting Nurses Association of Texas partnered with Dallas Fire and Rescue to get shots into the arms of homebound seniors in Dallas County.
Around the same time, Medicare Advantage provider SCAN Health partnered with logistics platform MedArrive to vaccinate homebound seniors and their family members in Los Angeles. A spokesperson for SCAN told McKniight’s Home Care Daily it is now expanding home vaccinations to Orange County.
Demand for the COVID-19 vaccine has been slowing. In recent weeks, the federal government has shifted its focus from mass vaccination centers to more targeted efforts including physician practices, retail pharmacies and mobile vaccination clinics.