United Way of Central Alabama’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral Center is a critical link in helping community members find access to resources while battling the fallout from COVID-19. Most recently, it’s been essential in eliminating the transportation barrier preventing residents from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
As COVID-19 cases skyrocket in Alabama, getting vaccinated is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and those around you, and ease the strain on hospitals and healthcare workers. Vaccines are driving progress toward rebuilding and recovery, so ensuring everyone has equal access to receiving one is vital.
By calling 2-1-1, qualified individuals in Jefferson County can participate in the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign — a service offering free or discounted rides to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites in partnership with Lyft. The rides are a safe and easy way to assist our most vulnerable neighbors while providing a personal touch. Initial funding is provided by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama.
Helpful specialists are available to speak with residents seeking to set up an appointment. Clarissa Brown, a UWCA community service response specialist, remembers an instance where she received a call from a person with a disability, who was looking for a ride to a vaccination site.
Clarissa easily booked him a Lyft, but he had difficulty making it to the car once it arrived. Normally, a Lyft driver will wait five minutes for a rider before moving on to the next stop. Recognizing the unique needs of this rider, however, the driver waited well past the traditional cutoff to help the man.
A Simple Act of Kindness
Thanks to the driver’s patience and understanding, one more community member is now vaccinated and the fight against COVID-19 becomes stronger. The program is yet another way UWCA is connecting the community and helping protect our neighbors and loved ones.
“It’s a great service for those that have no access to transportation,” said Clarissa. “Especially with the Delta variant, we are hopeful that more people will get vaccinated. This service will help individuals get a ride to get a vaccine.”
Those who need a ride to get their vaccine can simply dial the numbers 2-1-1 to access information on eligible vaccine sites in their area.
- Riders must have a vaccine appointment (if required by the vaccination site).
- Other transportation options (such as Non-Emergency Medical Transit provided by Medicare or Medicaid) have been assessed, and none is adequate or available.
- Riders live in an area with adequate Lyft driver supply by checking here: lyft.com/rider/cities.
- Riders are 18+ years old or accompanied by a guardian.
- Riders will comply with Lyft’s Health Safety Requirements, which include wearing a face covering.
- For Lyft Codes, riders must have a smartphone (to use the Lyft app).
- No proof of income is required, but riders need a payment method on file in their Lyft account in order to utilize Lyft Codes.
For more information regarding 2-1-1 services in your area, visit 211connectsalabama.org.