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In-Depth: Some unvaccinated people need rides for shots

Obstacles to vaccines still holding back some people
Posted at 6:01 AM, Oct 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 13:55:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A new survey found 44% of unvaccinated Americans say they're willing to get the COVID-19 shot, but they all have reasons for their hesitancy.

Most say they're concerned about side effects, or they're still waiting for more information. But a large chunk of the "unvaccinated but willing" population say other issues, like transportation, are holding them back.

The study didn't break down the "other" category for vaccine hesitancy. However, experts say lack of transportation is one issue they hear most often and one of the easiest to solve.

"No one should let transportation options prevent them from getting this vaccine," says Kathryn Robertson, the Coordinator of Jewish Family Service's "On the Go" program.

The program gives anyone over the age of 60 a ride anywhere within 25 miles of their home. For vaccine appointments, On the Go shortened their mandatory 7-day advance notice to just 2-days.

"That's right in line with what we do every day," Robertson says. "It was an extra privilege to be part of the process of getting these older adults vaccinated."

Since January, On the Go has given 200 rides for vaccines. Robertson says they're equipped and staffed to handle more than that number for anyone who still needs a vaccine or needs a booster shot.

There are also ride options for people who aren't over the age of 60. In San Diego, MTS offers free bus or trolley rides to anyone who can show proof of a vaccine appointment that day.

Lyft and Uber both offer free and discounted vaccine rides.

And national programs like Medical Transportation Management and "Project Finish Line" have stepped up to help.

Robertson calls these programs "essential," especially for seniors and other people who are home-bound. They also help when people can only get a vaccine appointment miles away from their homes or at drive-through clinics.

"People can feel alone," says Robertson. "They can feel like this is just my problem, or like there's no one else experiencing the problem. So they don't seek out help. We're here to help."