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Free rides available to vaccine appointments

Vaccine
Posted at 12:42 PM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 09:48:32-04

LAFAYETTE, La. - On Tuesday, 232-HELP/211 and United Way of Acadiana 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 Lafayette and surrounding area with 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 United Ways serving the Acadiana region.

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, according to a spokesperson for United Way.

Riders can call 211 to schedule a ride, Monday through Thursday from 8am to 4:30pm and on Friday from 8am to 3pm. The rides are 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."

232-HELP/211 serves help seekers dialing 211 from a 10 parish area and work 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. the spokesperson stated.

"232-HELP/211 has 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 Chris Roy, Executive Director of 232-HELP/211. "Through this partnership, 232-HELP/ 211 is able to now provide transportation help through the Ride United Vaccine Access effort.

As of Tuesday, April 20, the program is underway in Lafayette and the immediate surrounding area. If outside of the Lafayette immediate area, visit lyft.com/vaccine-access and click "Get a ride" to see if there are eligible services in their local communities.

"United Way of Acadiana is proud to partner on this initiative with 232-HELP/211 and we look forward to helping those with transportation needs gain access to the vaccine," says Carlee Alm-LaBar, CEO of United Way of Acadiana. "We have been working through the COVID-19 pandemic to help our neighbors in need and supporting the vaccine rollout is a critical part of the recovery."

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