Science and Tech


Uber Flu Shots: Where Publicity And Health Care Intersect

Called UberHealth, a free, one-day service will ferry health workers — via Uber — to distribute free flu shots.
Posted at 4:18 PM, Oct 24, 2014

If you need a flu shot, you might be able to turn to … Uber?

On Friday the rideshare company is deploying UberHealth, one-time flu shot courier services for users who request them in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Uber will shuttle health care workers around, who will be distributing flu shots to as many as 10 patients per call, free of charge. Uber says there are no strings attached — Insurance is not required, and Uber will even donate to the Red cross on the behalf of recipients.

It’s a collaboration with HealthMap, a vaccine tracker run by Boston Children’s Hospital; and travel medicine provider PassportHealth.

The minds behind UberHealth told NBC the program will also test the concept of couriered vaccinations for use in more serious medical scenarios, where it might be safer to bring the medicine to the people than vice versa.

The initiative is a seemingly rare bit of good publicity for Uber. If it’s not dealing with pushback from the taxi industry or media backlash from sexist promotions, it’s allegations of drivers assaulting passengers with hammers or kidnapping them.

Of course, it’s not just Uber benefiting from this new program. Wired says the vaccination drive is unambiguously good news.

One day ofon-demand vaccinations does not a comprehensive anti-flu campaign make, “But the example it sets of using an app-based on-demand service to promote not just consumer instant gratification but an actual public good is one that should inspire others to undertake similar experiments.”

UberHealth runs through 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Patients can file a request for immunization through the Uber app.

This video includes images from Getty Images.