Ecommerce giant Amazon has announced that it will be opening a pop-up Covid-19 vaccine clinic in downtown Seattle, Washington.
Amazon will set up the one-day Covid-19 vaccine clinic on Sunday in its headquarters in downtown Seattle. In partnership with the Virginia Mason Medical Center, the retailer aims to administer 2,000 vaccines to the eligible members of the public.
According to a company spokesperson, Amazon will be tasked with providing the space to administer the vaccines, as well as assisting with logistics.
At a news conference with Washington Governor Jay Inslee, Amazon’s top spokesperson, Jay Carney, said: “The truth is, Covid-19 has been a tragedy for the country, for the world and for Washington. 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.”
Amazon’s Washington Covid-19 initiatives
Aside from the pop-up clinic, Carney mentioned that the firm is working with Governor Inslee and the state on its Covid-19 vaccine efforts as Amazon executives are part of a public private partnership between the state and several other companies, called the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center.
The group, which aims to boost Covid-19 vaccinations in the state, also includes Starbucks and Microsoft.
The state of Washington currently allows people aged 65 and older and people aged 50 and older who live in a multigenerational household to be vaccinated.
Appeal for early access
The pop-up clinic announcement follows a letter sent by Amazon executive Dave Clark to US President Joe Biden asking him to prioritize the firm’s workers in the government’s vaccine distribution plans.
Clark mentioned in the letter that Amazon “stands ready to assist” in fulfilling the president’s pledge to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days of office. He claimed that the company can help in broadening the vaccine distribution, although he did not discuss the details of this claim.
He wrote that Amazon is “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.”
However, the Amazon executive said that in the US, the company has more than 800,000 employees, most of whom work in essential roles at Amazon fulfillment centers, AWS data centers, and Whole Foods Market stores.
Clark argued that these employees “should receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the earliest appropriate time” and mentioned that the ecommerce firm already has an existing agreement with a licensed third-party occupational health care provider to administer vaccines at its facilities.
This is not the first time that Amazon lobbied to get early access to the vaccine for its essential workers. In December, Clark also wrote to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to gain access to the vaccine “at the earliest appropriate time.”
Similar requests were submitted by other groups, including Uber for its drivers, and the National Retail Federation for the retail industry.