As if Amazon wasn’t busy enough releasing its 100K electric vehicle fleet this year, the e-commerce front-runner has decided it wants to get involved in delivering coronavirus vaccines, too.
In a letter released on Inauguration Day 2020, Dave Clark (the CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer) congratulated President Joe Biden and followed up with, “Amazon stands ready to assist you in reaching your goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of your administration.”
President Biden recently reported that he expects that the U.S. will have the supplies to vaccinate 1.5 million people per day, roughly 500K more vaccinations than the 1 million per day he originally set his goal for in his first 100 days in office.
But being able to get that many vaccinations out to the public will take a ready-made team. And Amazon, which has 800K employees in the United States, has kept its status as an essential company even during various state lockdowns last year. Those essential employees mainly work at Amazon fulfillment centers, data centers and Whole Food Market store chains.
But in addition to getting those vaccines delivered from Point A to Point B, there’s a bit of a catch. Amazon also wants its “licensed third-party occupational health care provider to administer vaccines on-site at our Amazon facilities.” Promising to “move quickly once vaccines are available,” Clark’s suggestion serves multiple purposes: 1) It once again makes Amazon an intriguing place for (out-of-work) job seekers to apply; 2) It further confirms the essential needs of this multi-national e-commerce platform; 3) It shows their immediate support for the new administration.
However, this offer was met with criticism. Fox Business reports that two senior Trump administration officials told the news outlet that Amazon didn’t offer this kind of assistance under the 45th president’s tenure.
Although Amazon was in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—even after the clash between the White House Coronavirus Task Force and the CDC, due to a rule demanding that hospitals report 100 percent of their COVID-19 data daily—the Trump administration also hadn’t planned a federal rollout of vaccines the way Biden is. States were going to be held largely responsible for all distribution.
“We met with Trump’s Operation Warp Speed to offer assistance on vaccine logistics, and we were redirected to the states,” an Amazon spokesperson told Fox Business. “We then wrote to all governors offering to help distribute the vaccine.”
But states are having their own problems when it comes to meeting the original demands. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts and New York City Health Commissioner David Chokshi all reported that their states needed far more vaccinations than what they are currently receiving (or projected to receive) from the federal government.
So while Amazon may have the fleet of vehicles to deliver the vaccines, if chosen, the vaccine rollout could more than likely be ready closer to spring rather than this winter season. But with more than 112 million Amazon Prime users, they’ll have plenty of other deliveries to keep themselves busy in the meantime.