Uber passengers can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments through app

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Uber passengers can now book COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Walgreens drugstores across the US through the ride-hailing app, Uber said Wednesday.

The vaccine-booking tool is an expansion of a previously announced partnership with Walgreens in which Uber said it would offer some free rides to people so they can get to their appointments.

“We’re committed to helping ensure that transportation is not a barrier to getting vaccinated. We know that by making it easier to get to an appointment, more people will get vaccinated,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said. “By partnering with Walgreens, our goal is to make getting that shot as easy as booking a ride with Uber.”

With more people getting vaccinated and the easing of pandemic-induced restrictions, Uber is angling for a rebound from the steep losses it suffered in 2020. The company’s ride-hailing business has already shown an impressive recovery, recording its best month yet in March.

Indeed, both Uber and Lyft have had to boost worker pay recently as demand for their services soars amid the waning pandemic in the US.

The vaccine-appointment feature is part of the company’s “go anywhere, get anything” campaign, which was unveiled Wednesday along with a slate of new product announcements.

Uber on Wednesday also said users can now rent cars from Avis, Budget, Hertz and others through the app. Through another new feature, all users can now book an Uber by the hour going forward, so they can do chores like pick up groceries without paying for multiple rides.

And the company is expanding its feature in which users can book a ride up to 30 days out in a bet that American air travel will pick up soon and people will want rides from the airport.

Additionally, Uber introduced a handful of features to better integrate its food-delivery service, which helped offset the company’s losses in ride-sharing during the pandemic. Users will be able to pick up food and alcohol while on an Uber trip through a “Pickup and Go” option.

The company said users will also be able to bundle delivery orders from multiple places, so customers can get takeout food and groceries simultaneously, for example. The company will also let users pre-order food from closed restaurants so they’re first in line when they open.

The product rollouts hint at a future in which people are ordering food delivery less and traveling more. Uber is betting that as the transition happens, it can steer people using its app for ride-sharing toward using its food-delivery service.

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