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Uber brings on-demand flu shots to Boston, NYC and DC for a day


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If there's one thing on-demand car startup Uber likes more than ferrying people around, it's trying to grab people's attention with kooky promo stunts. Uber for barbecue? Uber wedding packages? Pairing riders with attractive lady drivers? Been there, done that (for better or worse). Every once in a while though, Uber cooks up something genuinely useful and today is one of those days: if you live in Boston, Washington DC or New York City, you can order an on-demand flu shot for you and up to nine of your friends until 3PM Eastern.

No, really. You'll have to punch the promo code "HEALTH" into the app, but once that's done you can flag down a roaming nurse to either drop off a flu prevention kit or administer those shots. Uber refers to the day's events as a pilot program flying under the UberHealth banner that could wind up marrying Uber's logistical might with even more valuable health services, like bringing doctors straight to doorsteps. If that sounds a little familiar, you may be thinking of a New York startup called Pager (which is actually helping power today's flu shot promo) that does something similar, and it's not hard to imagine a frenzied MD responding to an in-app house call by jumping into a Uber some day down the road.

Anyway. Uber warns that high demand means you'll probably have to be very patient, but hey -- free flu shots! Why the hell not. Seeing as how we're a bunch of cynical jerks, we feel compelled to remind you that Uber's operations definitely aren't all sunshine and roses. After all, Uber's got a precarious little balancing act going on: it's positioning itself to the people an valuable alternative to the traditional cab experience, and pissing off the drivers powering its success at the same time.

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