The CEO of Uber is calling Gov. Tony Evers to consider app-based workers, including Uber drivers, as essential as the state prepares to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine.
Wisconsin health officials said that about 300,000 people living in long-term care facilities, and health care workers, will be first in line for the vaccine. They will be followed by first responders, people over 65 years old, along with those who have underlying health illnesses.
Wisconsin DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said on Dec. 7 that everyone else considered ‘low risk’ will likely have to wait until next summer to get the vaccine.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, in a Dec. 10 letter the governor, argues that Uber drivers are among those frontline workers who have "kept our communities running" during the pandemic.
Like other frontline workers, Khosrowshahi says, Uber drivers should also receive prioritized access to the vaccine.
"Public health experts have recognized that rideshare drivers and food delivery people, including the 14,600 in Wisconsin who have earned money on the Uber platform during the pandemic, should, as frontline workers, receive prioritized access to the vaccine in Phase 1b," according to the letter.
Khosrowshahi cites efforts by Uber he believes have contributed to helping those in need during the last nine months. Those efforts include funding 10 million free rides and deliveries, according to Khosrowshahi.
In the coming months, Khosrowshahi writes that he believes Uber can use its suite of Uber-related apps to disseminate "high-quality information about vaccines" and remove transportation barriers for people who need to travel to get a vaccine.
"My earnest hope is that Uber can continue to be a resource for the people of your state in the coming months. Together, I hope we can use our technology to accelerate the end of this public
health crisis and the beginning of the economic recovery to come," the Uber CEO writes.
Read the letter below: