Grab, the Southeast Asian ride-hailing and on-demand delivery giant, announced a program to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations today. Its goal is to have all of its employees, as well as driver and delivery partners, vaccinated by 2022 (excluding people who are medically unable to receive shots). Grab also said it will work with governments to provide information about vaccines through its app, and is in discussions to provide last-mile vaccine distribution, and transportation to and from vaccination centers.
The company currently has operations in eight Southeast Asian countries: Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Grab joins a growing roster of private companies around the world that have offered to help governments with their vaccination programs. In the United States, these include tech companies like Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce and Epic. Meanwhile, China’s largest ride-hailing company, Didi Chuxing, is pledging $10 million to support vaccination programs in 13 countries.
In a statement, Russell Cohen, Grab’s group managing director of operations, said, “The quicker we can achieve herd immunity, the sooner our communities and economies can start to rebuild. Public-private partnership has been critical in taking on some of the pandemic’s biggest battles, and this collaboration should continue.”
For drivers and delivery partners, Grab said it will subsidize COVID-19 vaccine costs not covered by national vaccination programs. The company will also extend its Group Prolonged Medical Leave insurance policy to cover income lost by drivers as a result of potential side effects from getting vaccinated. Employees and immediate family members will have any costs not covered by national programs paid for by Grab.
In terms of vaccine education, the Grab app will prominently display information from governments and health authorities, and run user surveys to help them understand public sentiment about COVID-19 vaccines. The company says its app has been downloaded more than 214 million times.