NEW ORLEANS (Jan. 5, 2022) – Starting today, New Orleanians can do their part to help Mardi Gras events safely make a comeback by using Blue Bikes for free rides to get their COVID-19 vaccines or boosters.
The Blue Bikes “Riding Toward Immunity” promotion began in November and went through Dec. 31. Based on steady use and an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as the Omicron variant spreads, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana will continue sponsoring free rides for vaccine and booster appointments in partnership with Blue Krewe, the local, community-based nonprofit that operates and manages the bikeshare program.
“With Mardi Gras season approaching and the recent increase in COVID-19 cases from the Omicron variant, it is important that we continue to do everything within our power to make New Orleans a safe place to visit and to live,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. “Getting vaccinated is a critical step towards fulfilling our responsibility of protecting not only ourselves but our neighbors as well. I commend Blue Bikes and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana for providing free rides to and from our COVID-19 vaccination sites so that transportation is not a barrier for ensuring our community remains healthy and safe.”
Starting tomorrow on Twelfth Night, which is the official start of Carnival season, riders can use the code BoostUpNola for free, 30-minute rides to and from their COVID-19 vaccine or booster appointments. The promotion lasts until Tuesday, Feb. 15. That date is two weeks before Mardi Gras Day, March 1, which gives time for immunity to build up before Fat Tuesday.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccine or booster so we can combat this latest surge in cases and make it possible to safely have Mardi Gras events. We hope New Orleanians will use the free Blue Bikes rides to get their shots as soon as possible,” said Dr. Jeremy Wigginton, Blue Cross medical director.
“While it appears Omicron spreads more easily than other forms of COVID-19, the good news is the vaccines and boosters are proving very effective against severe illness, hospitalization and death. If you have not gotten your vaccine or booster, now is the time to sleeve up – hop on a Blue Bike and ride to your appointment today,” Dr. Wigginton added.
“We were pleased to see how many New Orleanians used Blue Bikes for their vaccine and booster appointments through December. The bikeshare program was meeting a very real transportation need in the community, for people who otherwise may not have been able to get to their appointments,” said Michael Tipton, head of Community Relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and President of the Blue Cross Foundation. “With state health officials advising everyone 16 and older to get a booster as soon as possible in light of cases going up, we wanted to keep this promotion going so people have a way to get the jab and build up their immunity ahead of Mardi Gras season.”
To Use Your Free Ride for a COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster Appointment:
1. Download the Blue Bikes NOLA app, which is available in the App Store and Google Play.
2. To redeem your promo code and start your free ride, open your Blue Bikes NOLA app and tap on your name in the upper-left corner. This will pull up a sidebar of account options. Tap on "promo codes," which will take you to the code redemption screen.
3. Enter the promo code BoostUpNola in the field provided and tap "submit." This will give you two free, 30-minute rides that you can use to travel to and from your COVID-19 vaccine or booster appointment.
Each individual rider can only use this code one time through Tuesday, Feb. 15. The Blue Bikes free ride codes are only valid for trips to and from COVID-19 vaccine or booster sites that are located within the bikeshare program’s service area.
Show us how you used the code by posting photos of your ride to vaccine appointments on your personal social media, tagging Blue Bikes (@BlueBikesNOLA) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (@BCBSLA), using the hashtag #RidingTowardImmunity.
Riders will be charged the standard Blue Bikes rate of 15 cents per minute plus a $1 unlocking fee for any time they ride outside of the free 30 minutes. All other standard Blue Bikes fees such as out-of-hub convenience charge and out-of-service-area fee apply.
About the COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster
Health officials recommend everyone age 5 and older gets the COVID-19 vaccine and recommend everyone 16 and older gets a COVID-19 booster shot. Those who got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine should get a booster shot if it’s been two months or longer since their original COVID-19 vaccine. For those who got the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, booster shots should be six months or longer after they got the second COVID-19 vaccine. The Louisiana Department of Health recommends everyone who is eligible gets a COVID-19 vaccine or booster as soon as possible in light of the Omicron variant fueling a new surge in cases.
Keep in mind that although vaccines are available to anyone 5 and older and boosters are recommended for anyone 16 and older, you must be 18 or older to ride Blue Bikes.
Call the State of Louisiana’s Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0774 for help scheduling your COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot appointment. The hotline staff can help you find vaccine locations near you or connect you with clinicians who can answer your vaccine questions. Or, visit the Louisiana Department of Health’s website to see a list of vaccine locations.
Your COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot is covered at $0 out of pocket on your health plan, Medicare or Medicaid. Uninsured patients also can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine at no cost. This no-cost coverage is required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. If you have questions about vaccine coverage, contact Customer Service for your health plan.
For more information on Blue Bikes, visit BlueBikesNOLA.com or follow Blue Bikes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @BlueBikesNOLA.
About Blue Krewe
Founded in New Orleans in 2020, Blue Krewe is a local, community-based non-profit that manages and operates the Blue Bikes program. Recognizing the importance of Blue Bikes as a healthy, equitable, and environmentally-friendly transportation option, local bikeshare enthusiasts - such former Blue Bikes staff, biking and pedestrian advocates, philanthropists and community healthcare advocates - came together to form Blue Krewe. Here at Blue Krewe, we are committed to our mission to provide the Greater New Orleans region with equitable shared micro-mobility solutions that are rooted in and supportive of our community.
The Greater New Orleans Foundation provided critical start-up funding and fiscal sponsorship for Blue Krewe. Blue Krewe's partners include Bike Easy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans. To donate, volunteer or learn more visit www.BlueKrewe.org.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 and 2020 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.
About the Greater New Orleans Foundation (GNOF)
With roots extending over 90 years, the Greater New Orleans Foundation has been connecting generous people to the causes that spark their passion. As one of the most trusted philanthropic organizations in the region, we work every day to drive positive impact through philanthropy, leadership, and action in our thirteen-parish region. In addition to grantmaking, we convene people, resources, and ideas to create intelligent strategies and solutions to meet our region’s greatest challenges. We are proud to serve as a vocal civic leader with our partners to ensure a vibrant, sustainable, and just region for all. Learn more at www.gnof.org.