Target Corp. has earmarked $5 million to support global, national and local efforts to help boost community access to COVID-19 vaccinations.
Minneapolis-based Target said Monday that, to start, the company is contributing $1 million to nonprofits offering access to free and discounted rides to coronavirus vaccine appointments via the Lyft Universal Vaccine Access campaign. Under the program, the rideshare company and a coalition of partners provide underserved communities access to rides to and from immunization sites.
Related: Target stores get COVID-19 vaccines via CVS pharmacies
Target noted that the donation, expected to fund tens of thousands of rides, expands its existing partnership with Lyft to provide all U.S.-based Target employees with free roundtrip Lyft rides to vaccine appointments, up to $15 each way.
Another $2.5 million is slated to go to local community groups nationwide to help fund COVID vaccination efforts in their neighborhoods. Target said $500,000 of those funds will aid the Minnesota Council on Foundations work with the Minnesota Department of Health’s vaccine equity effort to reach communities of color, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. The retailer also is funneling dollars to support Latinos Progresando in Chicago to facilitate vaccinations in the Hispanic community.
Related: Target offers COVID-19 vaccine incentives to hourly workers
“Vaccine availability is increasing across the country, but not as quickly for underserved communities, many of which have been the most impacted by the pandemic,” Amanda Nusz, senior vice president of corporate responsibility at Target and president of the Target Foundation, said in a statement. “That’s why we’re using our size, scale and resources to make it easier to receive a vaccine.”
Over a third of Target stores are now offering COVID-19 vaccines through their CVS Pharmacy departments.
To raise awareness of the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccination, Target said it has begun providing $1 million toward the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s effort to educate the public and build confidence around the vaccines, especially in communities of color, which have been disproportionally impacted by the pandemic. Fellow retailers Walmart, CVS Health and Walgreens participated in public service announcements aired by the Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative beginning last month.
In addition, Target is contributing $500,000 to global relief organization UNICEF USA, to support its work with the World Health Organization and other partners to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, including countries with limited access to these vaccinations.
“Our $5 million investment helps bridge the gap between these communities and the resources they need, from our hometown to communities across the country and the world,” Nusz added.
In March, Target announced it was providing COVID vaccinations via CVS Pharmacy locations inside its stores. The company said more than 600 of its 1,700-plus stores with CVS departments began administering coronavirus shots in 17 states. And to encourage employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Target in February said hourly frontline employees receiving inoculations will receive up to four hours of pay (two hours for each dose for two-shot vaccines).
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