I had the opportunity to use Uber for the first time a couple of weeks ago while traveling in another state. It was an awesome experience. Uber is a mobile app, which allows consumers (those in need of a ride) with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to Uber drivers who use their own cars. I am a big fan and plan to use it for transportation in any city available.
Uber is now helping to stop the spread of the flu. On Thursday, November 19, Uber delivered flu shots door to door. To get a flu shot all you had to do was access Uber just as you would if requesting a ride. An Uber driver would then transport a nurse, with flu shot in hand, to your location all for the low-cost of $10.00. If you ask me, the convenience factor alone is worth the charge but knowing what I know about the charge for a typical flu shot, $10.00 is a bargain.
Making vaccines conveniently available to the public is a great way to address public health concerns and Uber may be onto something. I’ve seen “drive through” flu shot clinics that are convenient but nothing is as convenient as having the flu shot delivered.
John Brownstein, an epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, came up with the idea last year as a strategy for boosting vaccination rates. Though experts say vaccination is the single best way to prevent the spread of influenza, only 30 percent of adults ages 18-49 get inoculated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Convenience and accessibility are often cited as barriers.
Brownstein and researchers surveyed consumers who used the service last year to get their flu shots. Nearly 80 percent said they were unlikely to have gotten the vaccine if not for the on-demand delivery, according to a paper released recently in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
It’s an interesting approach to addressing public health concerns and I hope the public health world is taking notice of the “Fluber” (get it Flu + Uber) project.