United Way of Salt Lake and Utah 211 launch Ride United Vaccine Access campaign
In April 2021, United Way of Salt Lake (UWSL) and Utah 211 launched the Ride United Vaccine Access campaign, in partnership with Lyft and Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah. Supported by Regence’s donation, the campaign provides free roundtrip rides to COVID-19 vaccination appointments for vulnerable residents in at-risk communities in nine Utah counties. Across the country, similar United Way and 211 partnerships have helped people in 155 towns access COVID-19 vaccinations.
Vaccination rides are the latest addition to the United Way’s broader Ride United program, which reduces transportation barriers that prevent clients from accessing health care, food, getting quality jobs, completing education programs and more.
Below are a few real-life stories provided by United Way from people who were able to get vaccinated through the Ride United Vaccine Access campaign.
- One woman received a ride from Ride United to get her first COVID Vaccine. She then needed a second ride to get her second dose. UWSL and Utah 211 were able to schedule a ride for her and her daughter to receive the vaccination. They were very grateful.
- One caller wanted to get a COVID vaccination at the Maverick Center. But she is an older adult, no longer drives, and doesn’t have a car. Because she doesn’t own a car, she was unable to go because it was a drive-through clinic. So instead, she scheduled an appointment with her local Walmart. She called 211 looking to get a free ride. The information specialist was able to schedule a ride. During the follow-up, she said how she was relieved and grateful. She added that she loved the ride, that the driver was exceptionally kind to both her and her husband, and that she arrived just in time for her appointment. She now has both doses and is fully protected against COVID-19.
- Donna wanted to get a ride to her COVID-19 appointment because she's an older adult and has not driven in 20 years. She had no other means of transportation and was losing hope that she would be able to receive a vaccine. But then the local Health Department told her about Utah 211. Their team was able to get Donna a ride to and from her vaccination appointment. After the ride, the 211 staff called her back to check on how her experience was. She said that driver was a wonderful person and waited for her afterwards to give her a ride home. She was super happy that she was able to get her COVID-19 vaccine because of the service Utah 211 provided.
- John, a 71-year-old man from Logan, Utah, faced several barriers to reaching his vaccine appointment. He has glaucoma, which effects his ability to drive, and he doesn’t own a computer or a car. During John’s 211 call, staff checked the Health Department's website for walk-in vaccine clinics and got him a ride scheduled for the next day.
Ride United Vaccine Access Campaign is a free service is available in nine Utah counties: Box Elder, Davis, Salt Lake, Tooele, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, Washington and Weber. Rides are available forCOVID-19 vaccine appointments or walk in sites and can be scheduled up to a week in advance through Utah 211. Riders should call 211 or visit 211utah.org for more information.