E-commerce giant Amazon has offered to help the Biden administration with accelerating the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, while seeking to get its employees inoculated as early as possible.
Amazon Worldwide Consumer CEO Dave Clark said in a letter to President Joe Biden on the day of his inauguration (pdf) that the company is willing to leverage its operations to help vaccinate 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of the his administration.
“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,” Clark wrote.
The Epoch Times reached out to Amazon asking whether they approached the Trump administration with a similar offer of support, but did not receive a response by publication.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who holds around a 10-percent stake in the company, also owns The Washington Post, which endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket.
Clark also called for the earliest possible inoculation of Amazon employees, many of whom are essential workers.
“The essential employees working at Amazon fulfillment centers, AWS data centers, and Whole Foods Market stores across the country who cannot work from home should receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest appropriate time,” Clark wrote, noting also that Amazon has an agreement with a licensed third-party occupational health care provider to offer vaccines to employees on site.
In working to get their employees priority access to the vaccine, Amazon, like Uber and Aldi, lobbied to move their workers closer to the front of the line for vaccinations.
Conflicting state and local guidelines on how shots will be administered and to which workers have made the process of navigating the vaccine rollout confusing for corporations and industry bodies.
Meanwhile, health officials have lamented the slower-than-expected rollout of the vaccine, and have urged more federal aid to state and local authorities to smooth distribution and administration. They have also made reassuring remarks about vaccine safety in a bid to overcome vaccine hesitancy and get more shots into the arms of Americans faster.
Biden was set to sign 10 pandemic-related executive orders on Thursday, his second day in office, after signing an executive order on Wednesday that requires mask-wearing on federal property.
One of the orders Biden is expected to sign on Thursday would mandate masks in airports and on flights, trains, and buses for months, according to USA TODAY.
Biden is also depending on Congress to provide $1.9 trillion for economic relief and to ramp up the COVID-19 response, with many states complaining the lack resources to boost vaccine administration.
So far, more than 400,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, according to a Johns Hopkins tally.
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Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Jan. 21 that the Biden administration is not starting its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan from scratch, contradicting a CNN report that claimed they were not given a plan by Trump officials.
Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, debunked a CNN report that was published hours earlier, citing unnamed Biden administration officials claiming, “There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch.”
The report by CNN’s White House correspondent MJ Lee cited unnamed sources that alleged that the Biden administration would have to start its COVID-19 vaccine rollout from “square one.”
Hillary Clinton responded to the report’s allegations on Twitter, calling the claims “appalling but not surprising.”
But Fauci told reporters, “We certainly are not starting from scratch because there is activity going on in the distribution” during an appearance in the White House briefing room, indicating that Biden officials will continue to build on and adjust as needed the blueprint left by the Trump administration.
Fauci went on to tout President Joe Biden’s plans for pharmacy buy-in, vaccine centers, and targeted use of the Defense Production Act to manufacture vaccines, tests, and personal protective equipment. Former President Donald Trump used the act last year to compel businesses to manufacture ventilators and other items.
“We’re coming in with fresh ideas, but also some ideas that were not bad ideas with the previous administration. You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all,” Fauci said. “It’s taking what’s going on, but amplifying it in a big way.”
Lee defended her reporting on Twitter, calling Fauci a “holdover from the Trump administration.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) said reports claiming that the Biden administration is starting from square one on its COVID-19 vaccine distribution is a “lie.”
“The media should not buy the false narrative from the Biden Administration that they are ‘starting from scratch’ on vaccine distribution,” Graham wrote on Twitter. “That’s a lie. Don’t believe me, listen to Dr. Fauci.”
CNN didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch Times.
Biden’s COVID-19 Strategy
Biden has vowed to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37.9 million doses have been distributed as of Jan. 21 but just 17.5 million have been administered.
A day after taking office, Biden released a national COVID-19 strategy that includes working to get Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, increasing the number of tests, requiring masks in more places, reopening schools, and rejoining the World Health Organization, which Trump left because of their failure to be transparent about the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the early days.
Some states have struggled to quickly administer doses they’ve received from the federal government. One way the Biden administration hopes to clear the logjam is by creating more venues where people can get vaccinated, including stadiums, conference centers, and retail stores.
Along with more vaccinations, the strategy also calls for an increase in testing, calling it part of “a comprehensive national public health effort to control the virus.” The government is aiming to up the number of tests manufactured in America, with the hope of doubling test supplies.
Biden is asking Congress for $1.9 trillion to implement his plan.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.
President-elect Joe Biden plans to add thousands of community vaccination sites, including pharmacies, across the United States to combat the CCP virus. He is also seeking to establish 100 federally-supported vaccination centers by the end of his first month in office.
“If we’re getting more people vaccinated, then we need more vaccination sites. That’s why we will harness the full resources of the federal government to establish thousands of community vaccination centers,” the former vice president said Friday evening.
He said that on his first day in office, he will instruct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to start setting up the centers.
“By the end of our first month in office, we will have 100 federally-supported centers across the nation that will ultimately vaccinate millions of people,” he said.
Biden’s announcement on Friday in Delaware outlined a five-point plan for distributing the vaccine. It follows the Thursday unveiling of a $1.9 trillion legislative proposal to combat the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
Biden said that the vaccination centers will be places that are convenient and accessible such as school gyms, sports stadiums, and community centers.
“We’ve already had productive conversations with bipartisan groups of county officials, mayors, governors, tribal leaders, and leaders in the private sector who shared their ideas about this effort,” he said. “And as we build them, we will make sure it’s done equitably.”
“We’ll make sure there are vaccination centers in communities hit hardest by the pandemic, in Black and Latino communities, and rural communities as well,” he noted. “Within the first month of our administration, we will deploy mobile clinics. We will partner with community health centers, and local primary care doctors to offer vaccines to hard-to-reach communities in cities, small towns, and rural communities.”
The Biden administration will mobilize thousands of clinical and non-clinical professionals to staff the vaccination centers. “Think of the people we deploy in natural disasters, experts at FEMA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, our military medical personnel, and our first responders,” Biden said.
“Additionally we will expand the pool of medical professionals, including retired healthcare workers, who can administer the vaccine and to ensure we have enough vaccinators to meet the nation’s needs,” he said. “And as governors of both parties have asked, our administration will reimburse states 100 percent when their National Guard is deployed in the fight against COVID-19.”
The administration will help states cover the costs of personnel, vaccinators, and administrative staff, as well as supplies such dry ice, laptops, and protective equipment, he noted.
The Biden administration will also “fully activate pharmacies across the country to get the vaccines into more arms as quickly as possible.” Biden said his administration will work directly with both independent and chain pharmacies and enable millions of Americans to make an appointment to get their shots quickly.
He added that his administration will use the Defense Production Act to continue speed up vaccine development, and then release the “vast majority” of the vaccines when they are available, and retaining a small reserve for unforeseen shortages.
Masks will be mandated for federal workers, on federal property, as well as on interstate travel such as trains and planes, and the Biden administration will work with states to mandate masks in cities and states, Biden said.
“I know masks have become a partisan issue. But it’s a patriotic act. The experts say that by wearing a mask from now until April, we will save more than 50,000 lives,” he said. “Quite frankly, it was shocking to see members of Congress, while the Capitol was under siege by a deadly mob of thugs, refuse to wear a mask while they were in a secure location.”
“For God’s sake, wear a mask for yourself, for your loved ones, for your country,” he urged. “These are life and death matters. We need you to stick with the hand washing, social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings with people outside your household.”