‘We need to depend on each other’: Toronto woman convinces Uber driver to stop everything, get COVID-19 vaccine with her

·3 min read
Toronto resident Shahad Rashid was able to convince an Uber driver to park his car, and get a COVID-19 vaccine with her as she rushed for her chance at a pop-up clinic.

On Friday May 7, Shahad Rashid rushed to the Champagne Centre in Toronto via Uber after learning about a pop-up vaccine clinic for anyone 18 or older.

She got a call from a friend in the middle of a work meeting who said the pop-up clinic now opened up spots for everybody, and luckily, her workplace let her skip her meetings to go get vaccinated.

Getting a vaccine in Toronto is like trying to get into an after party where you need connections to get in.

Rashid found out that her Uber driver was not vaccinated yet, rather had an appointment in the summer.

"Well you know you are driving me to a vaccine pop-up [clinic] right now," said Rashid. "It's in the middle of nowhere, so why don't you just park the car and wait with me—just join me."

Rashid clarified that her Uber driver was not vaccine hesitant, rather concerned about having the documents needed to get the shot, and whether it was appropriate or not considering he was on shift.

She recognizes that not everyone is able to leave work early or at all for that matter on such a short notice.

"I think there's a tremendous amount of privilege that I'm carrying to have a workplace that let me drop everything and run out," added Rashid.

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She said her Uber driver was looking to get his shot as soon as possible, but was not sure when or where the pop-up clinics were happening.

During their conversation, he said he hopped on the system the same day as everyone else when it opened and was more or less disappointed because his appointment was so far.

Rashid says it's disheartening to navigate the system and not be able to book a spot, which is why she wanted to find out if her Uber driver got it yet or not.

"I think this is the case with most people who are working and [with] essential jobs [where] they don't get that time back or they don't get paid," added Rashid.

Rashid compared getting a vaccine in Toronto to trying to get into an after party where you need connections to get in.

"You need to talk to someone who knows someone who knows someone," said Rashid.

She says it was all luck that helped her get the vaccine, but luck is not on everyone's side. She questioned how appropriate is it to depend on luck during a pandemic.

"[The government] is almost prolonging the pandemic by being so bad. I almost feel at this point they are trying hard to be this bad—no one can be this bad."

Rashid convinced her Uber driver to stick around for the vaccine, he drove her back and was able to make a ride out of it too.

She was glad it worked out, however everything about the experience was inconvenient for her.

"The biggest hurdle to getting a vaccine is the government," she said. "Everything about this rollout has been a disaster and the rules are changing so quickly and sometimes so quietly, that no one even knows if they are eligible or not, or how to go about getting a vaccine."

She felt she did the 'bare minimum' to help someone out and do her part in the community.

"If we can't depend on this government, we need to depend on each other to make it work."