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Amazon tries to get on Biden’s good side by offering to help with COVID vaccines

January 20th, 2021 at 6:55 PM
Coronavirus vaccine
  • Amazon executive Dave Clark has sent a letter to President Biden on the day of his inauguration, offering Amazon’s help with the federal government’s continuing rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.
  • Biden has pledged to work toward completing 100 million inoculations in the first 100 days of Biden’s administration.
  • White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says Biden’s coronavirus vaccine goal is very doable.

Amazon wasted no time in reaching out to America’s newly inaugurated 46th president on Wednesday, with a key executive penning a note to Biden that offers to help with the new administration’s daunting challenge of expanding and stepping up the coronavirus vaccine distribution. The letter immediately raised eyebrows, because it’s led more than a few people to question why it didn’t extend a similar offer to the Trump administration.

According to NBC News senior media reporter Dylan Byers, it doesn’t appear that they did. In response to this letter to Biden officials, an Amazon representative told him that the company had been “in touch” with the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, as well as the Dept. of Health and Human Services, while not mentioning a similar direct appeal to President Trump. So what does the company’s letter to Biden, in fact, contain?

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Basically, it’s an offer extending Amazon’s distribution prowess to help with the ongoing national rollout of COVID-19 vaccines — a key focus of President Biden’s first 100 days. He’s promised to work toward 100 vaccinations during that time, a goal that White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has said is definitely achievable.

Amazon’s letter was written by Dave Clark, the CEO of Amazon’s consumer business, and dated Wednesday, January 20. It reads, in part: “As you begin your work leading the country out of the COVID-19 crisis, Amazon stands ready to assist you in reaching your goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of your administration. We are prepared to leverage our operations, IT, & 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 … We are prepared to move quickly once vaccines are available.”

The cynical view could argue that this letter is an attempt by Amazon to get on Biden’s good side early, since the arrival of a new Democratic administration is expected to bring a tough new regulatory eye that will be cast toward US tech giants. Another reason for sending the letter is actually clearly stated within it, with Clark asking that the members of Amazon’s 800,000-strong workforce who “cannot work from home” receive the coronavirus vaccine “at the earliest appropriate time.” That includes workers at Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market, as well as Amazon fulfillment centers and in Amazon data center facilities.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.




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