Prioritizing Vaccine Access for Drivers
As states across the country begin to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to their most vulnerable populations, Lyft is requesting that governors and local policymakers give drivers high priority status as non-health essential workers in the early phases of vaccine distribution. We fought for drivers to be designated as essential workers at the outset of the pandemic, and we believe they should be prioritized because of the essential services they provide and the critical role they will play in transporting vulnerable populations to vaccine access points.
Over the past nine months, drivers on platforms like Lyft have provided hundreds of millions of rides across the country — serving people and our communities, transporting patients who need regular rides to and from medical appointments, providing healthcare, public safety and other first responders with rides to work, and delivering essential goods, including meals for home-bound seniors and school lunches for low-income families.
In particular, Lyft provides vital access to healthcare for millions of underserved low-income and elderly populations. Lyft Healthcare is one of the largest non-emergency medical transportation providers in the United States, facilitating patient transport access for thousands of health care organizations, including 9 of the top 10 largest health systems and all of the top 10 health plans across the country. Lyft Healthcare also works with Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and commercial health plan populations and partners with key healthcare IT organizations such as Epic and Allscripts, as well as large retail pharmacy chains.
Lyft provides critical access to healthcare services for communities that are heavily and disproportionately affected by shelter-in-place advisories, including home-bound seniors, people living with disabilities, and chemotherapy and dialysis patients. Many of these patients belong to vulnerable populations who will be prioritized for early COVID-19 vaccine distribution, and drivers on the Lyft platform will play a critical role in transporting them to and from vaccination sites.
In order for drivers to continue helping our communities in these ways, they should be given high priority status as a category of essential workers that will be important in providing assistance to vulnerable populations. We support policymakers who are developing vaccine plans based on science, with a focus on equity, and will continue to advocate for drivers in our ongoing conversations with them.