Within a day of Joe Biden’s inauguration, Amazon has already reached out to the new president about prioritizing its essential frontline workers in his administration’s coronavirus vaccine distribution plans.
Amazon executive Dave Clark, CEO of the company’s worldwide consumer business, wrote in a letter to Biden that the e-commerce giant “stands ready to assist” in vaccinating a hundred million Americans in a little more than three months, which Biden has for weeks pledged to achieve.
“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,” Clark wrote.
“We have an agreement in place with a licensed third-party occupational health care provider to administer vaccines on-site at our Amazon facilities. We are prepared to move quickly once vaccines are available. Additionally, we are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts. Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against COVID-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort.”
Amazon also tried to persuade the new administration that its frontline workers should have priority access to the coronavirus vaccines. Clark last month wrote a letter to a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel asking that the company’s frontline employees “receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest appropriate time.”
The executive emphasized the fact that Amazon’s workers have played a major role in helping consumers get necessary products delivered safely to their homes during the yearlong coronavirus 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 essential employees working at Amazon fulfillment centers, AWS data centers, and Whole Foods Market stores across the country who cannot work from home should receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest appropriate time. We will assist them in that effort.”
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.
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.