Karoly Arvai/Reuters

In 15 U.S. cities, users can get vaccines (and a subtle lobbying effort) delivered on demand.

If you’ve been putting off getting a flu shot this year, today’s your chance to fire up the Uber app and have one delivered to your door for free.

The ride-hailing company is partnering with Passport Health to deliver vaccines on demand between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday in 15 U.S. cities, including Chicago, Boston, D.C., Houston, and Birmingham. Users in those cities will see a “Health” option in the app that summons registered nurses, complete with care packages and vaccines for up to five people.

Why is Uber doing this? Much like its partnerships with hospitals to help people get to doctors appointments, the obvious benefit is public health. “Every person who receives a flu shot reduces the risk of others getting the flu by 50-60 percent,” the company said in a statement. “We can all fight this thing together.”

Of course, it makes for great PR, too, by encouraging more people to download the app and consider using it for rides in the future. There’s a little more going on in cities like Syracuse and Albany, though, where users can get free flu shots today even though they can’t catch a ride. Under state law, ride-hailing apps can’t legally operate in upstate New York. Uber and Lyft lobbied lawmakers heavily—and unsuccessfully—to change that this year, and they’ve doled out plenty of free stuff to residents along the way.

"While Albany dysfunction prevents Upstate New Yorkers from having access to affordable and reliable transportation options, it doesn't have to limit their access to flu season essentials at the touch of a button," Uber NY’s general manager, Josh Mohrer, told the Syracuse Post-Standard.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A large tank truck parked in front of new apartment buildings.
    Life

    The Divides Within, and Between, Urban and Rural America

    Economic growth is not only uneven between urban and rural places—it is uneven within them, too.

  2. Design

    How Boston Got Its ‘T’

    Designers Peter Chermayeff and Tom Geismar talk about how they gave the MBTA an enduring makeover.

  3. Life

    Remembering the ‘Mother of All Pandemics,’ 100 Years Later

    The Spanish flu outbreak of 1918 offers important lessons in balancing truth and panic during public health crises.

  4. A Fifties-style diner with blue booths and chairs and pink walls.
    Design

    Why a ‘Memory Town’ Is Coming to Your Local Strip Mall

    Weeks after opening near San Diego, a model town for treating dementia is set to be replicated around the U.S.

  5. A mural on the side of a building shows a man standing in a city street.
    Life

    The Polarizing Mayor Who Embodied ‘Blue-Collar Conservatism’

    Frank Rizzo, Philadelphia’s mayor from 1972 to 1980, appealed to “law and order” and white working-class identity—a sign of politics to come, says the author of a new book.