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Need a shot? Need a ride? Detroit giving $50 to drivers

April 28, 2021 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — Detroit is adding to the gig economy: Drivers who take a city resident for a COVID-19 vaccine can get $50.

There is a $150 three-person cap per vehicle, but there’s no limit on the number of trips. Compensation will come in the form of a prepaid debit card.

“There shouldn’t be a single barrier for any Detroiter to get a vaccination, and certainly not transportation,” Mayor Mike Duggan said Wednesday.

Nearly half of Michigan residents 16 and older have received at least one shot. But in Detroit, it’s just 30%.

“We are burying 100 of our neighbors in April,” Duggan said, noting that COVID-19 deaths in the city are approaching that number this month. “We don’t want to bury another 100 of our neighbors in May.”

Drivers, who can be from anywhere, must register by calling (313) 230-0505 and also schedule a first-dose appointment for their passenger. If they bring the person back for a second dose, they’ll get another $50 card, the city said.

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Walk-ups don’t count.

Duggan encouraged people to be “entrepreneurial.” Vaccination rates in many senior living centers are only 50%

“If you live in a senior center and you convince your neighbors to go and you keep coming back every day, we’re going to keep giving you gift cards. ... We have an unlimited number of gift cards,” the mayor said.

Michigan continues to have the nation’s highest seven-day case rate, but the situation is improving. The seven-day daily average was 4,167, down from around 7,000 two weeks ago.

More than 3,200 adults with confirmed infections were hospitalized, below the third surge’s peak of more than 4,100 early last week.

The state reported 38 additional deaths, bringing the total number of confirmed or probable deaths related to COVID-19 to 18,600.

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Eggert reported from Lansing.