The new CEO of Amazon’s retail unit wrote that the company was ‘ready to take advantage of our operations, information technology and communications capabilities and expertise’ ‘to vaccinate people.
Amazon.com Inc. is offering to help the Biden administration speed up distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, including to its own employees.
In a letter dated Wednesday, Dave Clark, the new general manager of Amazon’s retail unit, congratulated President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
He reiterated a request Amazon made to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month, asking that frontline workers among the company’s more than 800,000 US employees receive vaccines as soon as possible.
Even though most of Amazon’s white-collar workers at its Seattle headquarters and other offices work hard from home, warehouses, cloud-based data centers and Whole Foods Market stores have remained open during the pandemic. .
Clark said Amazon has a contract with an occupational health provider to administer vaccines at its facilities.
“We are ready to act quickly once the vaccines are available,” he wrote.
Reuters reported the letter earlier Wednesday.
“In addition, we are ready to leverage our operations, information technology, communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s immunization efforts,” Clark continued.
“Our scale allows us to have a significant impact immediately” in the fight against the disease, he writes.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television earlier this month, Jay Carney, a former Biden staff member who now heads Amazon’s policy and communications teams, said the company has offered assistance to officials working on the presidential transition.
“We offered suggestions, our experiences and we are open to any ideas that the administration might have, that the incoming administration might have, on how we can help,” he said.
Amazon is under pressure from regulators and Congress because of its growing power, and it is not clear whether the Biden administration will step up that scrutiny.
Since the virus began to spread in the United States, the second largest private sector employer in the United States has made major adjustments to its extensive logistics network to account for social distancing.
Yet Amazon said last year that around 20,000 of its employees tested positive for the virus in the first six months of the pandemic. Some employees, lawmakers and labor officials have criticized Amazon’s response to the crisis as insufficient.