The CEO of the ride hailing company Uber on Thursday in a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo urged ride hailing drivers be given priority for a COVID-19 vaccination, pointing to the company's role in providing rides to people during the pandemic.
"Over the last nine months, these workers have been a lifeline to their communities," wrote Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
"They have transported healthcare workers to hospitals, delivered food to people socially distancing at home, and helped local restaurants stay in business. 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."
He added, "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."
A COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is expected to be approved in the coming days. New York could get its first batch of vaccines as early as this weekend, with nursing home residents and frontline health care workers expected to receive the first doses.
Khosrowshahi, in his letter to Cuomo, wrote the company can also provide essential information about getting vaccinated as a major public education campaign is being planned to urge people to get their shots.
And Uber is pledging to provide transportation support as well.
"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," he wrote. "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."