Amazon to Biden: Prioritize our workers for the vaccine

Amazon wasted no time to reach out to newly installed US President Joe Biden about prioritizing its essential workers in his administration’s vaccine distribution plans.

In a letter sent to Biden Wednesday, Amazon executive Dave Clark wrote that the company “stands ready to assist” in vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days, as Biden has pledged to do.

As part of that offer, Clark highlighted that Amazon has more than 800,000 US-based employees — most of whom work in essential roles at Amazon fulfillment centers, AWS data centers, and Whole Foods Market stores — and these workers “should receive the Covid-19 vaccine at the earliest appropriate time.” He added that Amazon has an agreement in place with a licensed third-party occupational health care provider to administer vaccines at its facilities.

It’s not the first time that Amazon has advocated for early access to the vaccine for its essential workers. In December, Clark penned a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices about access to the vaccine “at the earliest appropriate time.” Others submitted similar requests, including Uber for its drivers, and the National Retail Federation, which advocated for the retail industry.

The push comes as worker safety has become an area of intense scrutiny during the pandemic for the company, whose business has surged even as the broader economy has been mired in a pandemic-induced recession. In October, Amazon said more than 19,000 of its front-line US employees at Amazon and Whole Foods have tested positive or been presumed positive for the coronavirus, shedding light for the first time on how its workforce has been affected by Covid-19 after months of both internal and external pressure for more transparency.

In Clark’s letter, he suggested the company can help the administration more broadly, although the details are unclear.

He wrote 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.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ request for further information.

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