Free rides to get COVID-19 vaccine coordinated by Northeast Ohio’s 211 helpline

The Vaccine Team
The Vaccine Team
Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 2:16 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Operators at the 211 help center are making sure you get your COVID-19 vaccine.

The center has taken more than 55,000 calls since January setting up vaccine appointments. Now, it is taking one step further and making sure you have a way to get to your appointment as well.

“Between free RTA passes and Lyft, we’ve been getting some requests for that and getting people connected to those rides and getting them to the vaccination sites,” said 211 director Franco Formichelli.

The Word Church and the Wolstein Center are two of the main places people have been getting rides to when calling the 211 center, but you can get a ride anywhere you have a vaccine appointment.

For the first few weeks, there were some challenges, especially with ride-sharing programs.

“If they’re driving someone to a vaccination site, they know the person wasn’t vaccinated,” said Formichelli. “So, I think there may have been some hesitancy early on with picking people up, but were seeing more and more drivers available.”

Once you have your vaccine appointment set up, it’s up to you whether or not you choose a free all-day RTA pass or a free Lyft ride from your home.

But the 211 center does say one is easier than the other.

“You know the RTA is there, it’s there all the time” said Formichelli.

For many in low-income areas, transportation is the only thing standing in their way of getting this potential life-saving shot. Now, the help center is bridging the divide at no cost to you.

“If somebody needs help with anything, we have a robust database that has many resources, so just call us if you need something,” said Formichelli.

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