On the same day that President Joe Biden was sworn into office, Amazon sent him a letter that said the mammoth company could help distribute the COVID vaccine. As Biden begins the work of vaccinating 100 million people in his first 100 days in office, Amazon executive Dave Clark said the multinational behemoth can give assistance with logistics.
“We are prepared to move quickly once vaccines are available,” Clark wrote, via GeekWire. “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.”
As President Donald Trump left office in the early hours of Jan. 20, Americans had suffered 400,000 deaths because of the coronavirus. According to CNN, Biden staffers were shocked at what they called the Trump administration’s complete lack of vaccine distribution strategy. One source told CNN, “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch.” Another source said, “Wow, just further affirmation of complete incompetence.”
But Biden has big plans to help turn the tide against the pandemic, signing an executive order hours after he was sworn in to create a COVID-19 response coordinator who will report directly to him and “be responsible for coordinating all elements of the COVID-19 response across government, including managing efforts to produce, supply, and distribute personal protective equipment, vaccines, and tests.”
On his second day in office, Biden planned to sign more orders that will give the federal government more responsibility in trying to defeat COVID-19, including an order that would make use of the Defense Production Act to create more PPE and other supplies and to use the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to build more centers where the public can receive vaccinations.
“Over 77,000 Americans lost their lives to COVID-19 in December, and across our nation businesses are closing, hospitals are full, and families are saying goodbye to their loved ones remotely. The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century,” the White House said in a memo that was released to reporters.
Similar to Starbucks helping out in Washington state, Amazon, the second-largest employer of workers in the U.S., wants to do its part for the COVID vaccine. It also wants to make sure its workers can get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“We are proud of the role our employees have played to help customers stay safe and receive 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.”
As noted by CNN, Clark also wrote to the CDC in December asking about the vaccine so workers could get inoculated.
Clark said Amazon already has a secured a licensed third party that can give vaccines directly to workers on site at the company’s facilities.
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