By Mark Hallum
Uber’s chief executive officer is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to include ride share and delivery workers priority in receiving the vaccine before the general public
Dara Khosrowshahi’s asked Cuomo in a letter issued Thursday that the 213,655 people using the Uber platform to make money be included in the what will essentially be the second phase of the vaccine’s rollout after healthcare workers and nursing home residents.
Khosrowshahi believes this will help facilitate the next stage of vaccination efforts by guaranteeing Uber drivers will be safe when transporting New Yorkers for their first and second round of shots.
“Public health experts have recognized that rideshare drivers and food delivery people, including the 213,655 in New York who have earned money on the Uber platform during the pandemic, should, as frontline workers, receive prioritized access to the vaccine in Phase 1B,” Khosrowshahi said. “We also believe that we can use our technology to remove transportation barriers faced by individuals who will need to travel to their vaccination appointments, especially those in higher- risk groups and in communities of color, which have borne the disproportionate brunt of this pandemic.”
Who qualifies as an essential worker and where do they fall in the priority??
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) compiled a list that included those in the fields of medical and health care, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water, wastewater, and law enforcement.
The CDC recommends that priority 1b workers include educators, service workers, utilities employees, police, firefighters, corrections officers and transportation workers. Those in the 1a category come after healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents.
The next phase, 1c included adults over 65 and those with high-risk conditions.
The governor’s office created their own priorities for who would receive the vaccine and when in a document published in mid-October, before it was announced that vaccine would become available in December to the few who qualify first.
“All prioritization planning will be sufficiently detailed and flexible in order to quickly adjust target recipient populations given changes in the supply of vaccine that is designated for distribution in New York State, the number of New Yorkers seeking vaccination, and new understandings regarding the vulnerability of certain populations to COVID-19,” the document reads.
Under this plan, essential workers in specific areas based on prevalence of COVID-19 would be in the third priority – among lower risk members of the population.