WINDSOR, ONT. -- People living in Windsor-Essex looking to get vaccinated against COVID-19, but are unable to get to their appointment will now have another option, thanks to a new initiative run through the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

A complimentary taxi service program was launched Monday in the city and county, thanks to financial support from Green Shield Canada, Hydro One, Sun Life, the Rotary Clubs of Windsor and Essex County.

People who are unable to coordinate transportation to a vaccine appointment due to financial, physical or other challenges will be able to use the taxi service, provided by Vets Cab in Windsor and Sun Parlour Taxi in Leamington.

“This is a critical program,” said Windsor-Essex Chamber President and CEO, Rakesh Naidu. “We have reached a point where the reopening and recovery efforts are directly tied to getting maximum people vaccinated. Reducing the barrier to vaccination and making vaccination sites easily accessible is key, especially, for those that have mobility and financial challenges.”

Windsor and Essex County residents living in “hot spot” areas who have been scheduled for a vaccine can contact Vets Cab at (519) 256-2621 or Sun Parlor Taxi at (519) 326-9063 to arrange transportation.

Billing from the transportation partners will go directly to the Windsor-Essex Chamber and the rider isn’t expected to make any payments.

“If we support the transportation for members of our community, we can reduce COVID-19 infections and fight off the potential for another wave in our region,” said Naidu.

The chamber has already managed to raise $35,000 to fund this initiative, but welcomes more funding to continue the program as long as necessary.

Donations or funding support inquiries should be sent to the Chamber at no later than April 30, 2021.