Shortly after President Joe Biden was sworn into office on Wednesday, Amazon offered to help his administration with efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, a proposal that the tech giant had not made to the Trump administration in the month since the vaccine was approved for public use.
“As you being 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,” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, wrote in a letter to Biden, according to Axios.
“We are 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,” Clark wrote.
Clark also requested that Amazon’s 800,000 employees — whom he characterized as “essential workers” — be prioritized for vaccination.
Biden has said that he hopes to have 100 million Americans vaccinated within his first 100 days in office.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16 million vaccine doses have been administered to date.
Clark contacted the Trump administration on Dec. 16 regarding the COVID-19 vaccine.
But rather than offer to help with the distribution of vaccines, Clark lobbied the CDC to grant priority to Amazon employees for vaccination.
It was not immediately clear why Amazon waited more than a month to offer help with vaccine distribution. Federal and state officials have acknowledged that the vaccination effort has gotten off to a slower start than anticipated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top government scientist, said in an interview on Dec. 31 that distribution of the vaccine had been “disappointing.”
While Amazon is only now offering help delivering doses of the vaccine, the company has made other contributions to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon said it has been in contact with various government officials and agencies over the past nine months regarding the response to the pandemic.
The company also says it has had extensive talks with the Food and Drug Administration regarding COVID-19 testing.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, was reported in May to have been in contact with White House officials regarding assistance in the pandemic response.
Former President Donald Trump has been an outspoken critic of Big Tech firms and has suggested steeper tax rates for companies like Amazon.
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