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US touts free ride shares to boost jabs

The White House has announced a series of steps aimed at boosting US coronavirus vaccination rates, including a partnership with ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, as it seeks to reach President Joe Biden’s July 4 reopening deadline.

The latest actions also include vaccination sites at community colleges, among other efforts, the White House said in a statement.

Biden will discuss the steps in a meeting with a bipartisan group of governors on Tuesday.

Biden has set a target of getting 70 per cent of US adults inoculated by July 4 so the country can be safely reopened for celebrations and small Independence Day holiday gatherings.

“Building on last week’s announcements to increase access and vaccine education and outreach efforts, today the president will highlight an… effort by the ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber to provide free rides to anyone going to a vaccination site to get vaccinated,” the statement said.

An Uber spokesman told Reuters the company will pay for the rides.

Uber has already been offering free or discounted rides.

It announced 10 million such rides in December in addition to the 10 million free rides it announced in March of last year.

Lyft also said it will fund the rides.

“Ride codes will cover $US15 ($A19) each way, which based on previous rides given to vaccination sites, we expect to cover most, if not all, of riders’ fares,” the company said.

Biden also will announce funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for states for on-the-ground efforts to promote vaccinations, such as phone banking and door-to-door canvassing.

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