The goal of the one-day clinic will be to inoculate two thousand eligible members of the general public. Currently, the state of Washington allows people aged sixty-five and older, as well as those fifty and older who live in a multigenerational household, to receive the vaccine.
“The truth is, COVID-19 has been a tragedy for the country, for the world, and for Washington,” Jay Carney, Amazon’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs, said during a news conference along with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, adding that the e-commerce giant will be working closely with the state’s Vaccine Command and Coordination Center.
“We’re eager to help save lives here in our home state, to rebuild the economy with you, and turn the page on COVID as quickly as we can.”
Carney added that the company will provide the space to administer the vaccines as well as assisting with any logistical matters. The clinic itself will be run in partnership with the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
The launching of the pop-up clinic comes a day after Amazon had offered to help President Joe Biden and his administration in their effort to speed up the much-criticized national vaccine rollout and distribution.
“As you begin your work leading the country out of the COVID-19 crisis, Amazon stands ready to assist you in reaching your goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of your administration,” Amazon executive Dave Clark, CEO of the company’s worldwide consumer business, wrote in a letter.
The company also appealed to the new president and officials for its frontline workers to get priority access to the coronavirus vaccine, emphasizing the fact that its employees have played a major role in helping consumers get necessary products delivered safely to their homes during the yearlong pandemic.
“As the nation’s second largest employer, Amazon has over 800,000 employees in the United States, most of whom are essential workers who cannot work from home. We are proud of the role our employees have played to help customers stay safe and received important products and services at home, which is critical for people with underlying medical conditions and those susceptible to complications from COVID-19,” Clark wrote.
The vaccine push comes as worker safety at Amazon for months has been under intense scrutiny. In October, Amazon revealed in a blog post that nearly twenty thousand of its workers, or 1.44 percent of the total, in the United States contracted the virus. There have been at least ten confirmed Amazon worker deaths due to the coronavirus.
Carney asserted that Amazon is fully prepared to begin administering vaccines to its frontline workers once doses are available. He added that the company has focused on ramping up coronavirus testing at its warehouses—having run “over a million tests” at six hundred fifty sites across the country.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.