Amazon offers Biden help with vaccination immediately after Trump leaves
Amazon has offered to help Biden administration with COVID-19 vaccine distribution. In a letter signed off by the company's Worldwide Consumer CEO Dave Clark, Amazon offered assistance to Biden's ambitious goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans within the first 100 days of his term. Amazon didn't extend the same courtesy to the Trump administration, although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) greenlit the vaccine late last year.
Clark promised to mobilize Amazon's 800,000 strong workforce for Biden's vaccination drive. The letter assured the newly sworn-in US President that the company will leverage their operations, IT, and communication capabilities to expedite the vaccine to 100 million Americans. Clark also used this opportunity to request President Biden to prioritize vaccination to Amazon's "essential workers" from the company's fulfilment and AWS data centers.
Trump intended to vaccinate 20 million Americans after the FDA approved the vaccine late last year. Amazon, however, chose to sit on the sidelines and watch Trump fail, before contacting the Biden administration on the day it was sworn in. Further, Clark lobbied the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FDA seeking priority vaccination for Amazon employees.
Amazon's decision to wait a month before offering to mobilize its massive infrastructure for vaccine delivery is perplexing. It isn't immediately clear why Amazon chose to wait for Trump to exit the White House before helping, but the tense relations between it and the Trump administration have been apparent for the last few years.
Meanwhile, Amazon claimed to have been in touch with the Trump administration over the past nine months while assisting the vaccination efforts. This included "extensive talks" with the FDA about coronavirus testing. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself was reported to be cooperating with the White House with respect to pandemic response. This makes its month-long failure to offer vaccine distribution help quite strange.