(Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash)
Americans are in the midst of the long-awaited COVID-19 vaccination rollout. Locally, there have been failures, such as Philly Fighting COVID, as well as signs of hope, like the work of the Black Doctors Consortium, which recently organized a 24-hour vaccination event event at the Liacouras Center. What has been less discussed is how people can find transportation to vaccination sites.
The new Vaccine Access Program from venture-backed healthcare transportation company Roundtrip, which allows healthcare professionals to book on-demand rides for their patients, seeks to remedy this issue: It’s now enabling healthcare pros to organize rides for people from low-income and at-risk communities to and from vaccination sites.
People without cars or who need to share a ride with a family member, friend or neighbor are at a disadvantage in receiving their COVID-19 vaccination, a challenge that has only been made more difficult by social distancing. Roundtrip CEO Mark Switaj is hopeful that the program will enable disenfranchised people to get better access to vaccination sites.
“It’s important that these communities have the option of safe and reliable transportation to access the vaccine,” he said in a company blog post about the program’s rollout. “We are here to help in any way we can to get our communities vaccinated and eliminate the health inequities that we see — and the media reports on — almost daily.”
Through the Vaccine Access Program, individuals will have access to Roundtrip’s network of medical sedan, taxi and wheelchair van providers. Riders will receive text messages to confirm ride details and second dose reminders, and healthcare pros will have the ability to view and export all ride data for state and local vaccine coordination teams. Healthcare pros can learn more on Rondtrip’s website.
Like many business leaders, Switaj has searched for inventive ways to also support his employees during the pandemic. One of them has been “Corona Fridays,” which have allowed workers to end their work day early in an effort to boost morale, he told Technical.ly in August.
The company said major healthcare systems and hospitals ChristianaCare, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Tufts Medical Center have begun using its services in the past year.
Michael Butler is a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Lenfest Institute for Journalism.-30-
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