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South L.A. residents can take free Uber rides to new USC vaccination site

A car has an Uber sticker attached to its windshield.
Uber is offering 15,000 free rides, plus 20,000 others at half-price, for South L.A. residents to get to vaccination appointments at a new USC site.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

A new COVID-19 vaccination site opened Tuesday at USC and will cater to residents in South Los Angeles, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.

The city is partnering with Uber to offer 15,000 free rides and 20,000 others at half-price to bring South L.A. residents to the new site, according to a news release.

“Transportation should never be a barrier to getting the vaccine,” Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

The new vaccination site is expected to offer a few thousand doses in its first week, ultimately working up to a pace of 5,000 shots a day, according to the release.

The statement said “a large batch” of appointments will be reserved for seniors in South L.A., which has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and where county health data show few have received the vaccine.

Disparities are revealed in detailed data tracking the progress of the COVID-19 vaccination effort in more than 340 neighborhoods across L.A. County.

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The county report, released last month, showed that only 1 in 24 people had been vaccinated in South Los Angeles, although 1 in 6 in the area have tested positive for the virus.

Those rates paled in comparison to wealthier neighborhoods on the Westside, such as Beverly Hills, where 25% of residents have received their first dose of the vaccine.

To counter the disparities, Mayor Eric Garcetti promised to send a fleet of mobile vaccination clinics to L.A.'s hard-hit neighborhoods, with the goal of putting 10 in the field by the end of March.

“Equity drives every facet of our strategy to end the pandemic, but our efforts will come up short unless we shorten the distance between life-saving vaccines and our hardest-hit Angelenos,” Garcetti said in a statement.

“Our city is determined to deliver doses to residents of South L.A. and every community — and our partnerships with both USC and Uber will enable us to get shots into the arms of thousands more Angelenos every day and move us closer to defeating COVID-19.”

The USC site will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at the seven-story Flower Street parking garage at Exposition Boulevard and Figueroa Street. Patients will be able to drive or walk up to the facility.


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