On April 19th, United Way Northeast Louisiana announced the launch of the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign. This program gives residents who have transportation challenges free rides to COVID-19 vaccination sites in NELA communities currently covered by Lyft. Residents can access this transportation assistance or learn more by dialing 211. This effort is made possible through a grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation in partnership with United Way Worldwide and the Louisiana Association of United Ways.
As parish, state and federal officials continue scaling up the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign will help more eligible people get immunized to protect their health and the health of the community. Rides are provided through Lyft ride credits, which you can activate on a Lyft smart phone app. Or you can call 211 to schedule a ride, subject to Lyft availability.
“Now that the COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone 16 and older in Louisiana, we want to help as many people as possible get their shot,” said Michael Tipton, President of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation. “Unfortunately, lack of transportation prevents many people who would otherwise sign up from getting the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s why we’re proud to support the Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign and make free rides available to and from vaccine appointments for those who need them. Vaccination not only improves health and lives, it’s how we can get back to the things and the people we love.”
United Way NELA 211 serves help seekers dialing 211 from the surrounding 12-parish area and works as part of the Louisiana 211 Statewide Network. 211 call specialists are trained to address the root causes of a caller’s problem by locating available help in their communities – whether it’s transportation, food, disaster assistance, crisis counseling, health care or housing. Since the COVID-19 response effort began in March 2020, Louisiana 211 has partnered with the Louisiana Department of Health to serve the state’s hotline for general COVID-19 questions, which has so far helped more than 165,000 Louisianans get COVID-19 specific information and assistance for their needs.
“United Way of Northeast Louisiana 211 is honored to be part of the Ride United for Vaccine Access Campaign and provide rides to members of our community in need of this special help,” said Kim Lowery, Director of Community & Organizational Strategy. “A simple call to 211 is all that is needed to take the first step. You can also text your ZIP code to 898-211 to reach United Way NELA 211 via mobile text. We look forward to helping members of our community access this critical service.”
As of Monday, April 19, the program is underway in the 12-parish region of Northeast Louisiana. Those who need a ride to get their vaccine should visit lyft.com/vaccine-access and click "Get a ride" to see if there are eligible services in their area.
“Time and again, we at LA 211 have worked to give personalized attention to the elderly and vulnerable populations, ensuring that they have information to take effective steps to stay well as we navigate COVID-19,” says Sarah Berthelot, President and CEO of the Louisiana Association of United Ways. “Now in Northeast Louisiana, 211 is able to provide transportation help through the Ride United Vaccine Access effort to provide equitable access for best health.”