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Uber Seeks COVID-19 Vaccine Priority For Rideshare, Delivery Drivers

Uber wants its delivery and rideshare drivers to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations and sent letters to U.S. state governors requesting early access, Reuters reported on Thursday (Dec. 10).

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also sent a similar letter to U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, and last week sent a request to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The governors’ letter, which was seen by Reuters, asked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to deem Uber’s workers as essential. The designation would entitle drivers to get vaccinations immediately following frontline healthcare professionals and long-term care facility residents.

Uber has about 236,000 pandemic drivers in Florida, more than any other state. Florida is expecting to get 500,000 to one million vaccine doses for its residents. The state has more than one million licensed healthcare workers and approximately 146,000 long-term-care residents, Reuters said, citing data from the Florida Health Department.

“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,” the letter said, per Reuters.

Uber’s app could be used to communicate vaccine news to the public, Khosrowshahi added.

Individual states are tasked with deciding who will be the first to get the limited doses of the vaccinations, as there is little federal guidance. Uber is among 20 large industries that have beseeched public officials to prioritize their workers. The company said that more than 1.5 million drivers in the U.S. have made a minimum of three trips since the pandemic began in March.

According to PYMNTS data, 38.4 percent of people surveyed about the COVID-19 vaccine said they definitely or likely would not get vaccinated. Almost 38 percent indicated that they definitely or likely will. The remaining 23.7 percent count themselves as maybes. There are now three companies that are close to submitting vaccines for emergency approval.

Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates said earlier this month that he expects that by the end of June, everyone seeking a vaccine will be able to get it. Some $450 million has been donated by the Bill Gates Foundation to fight the virus.

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