Amazon Requests Priority Access to COVID-19 Vaccine
Amazon has told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that its workers should be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
In a letter to the CDC on Dec. 17, the company requested that its front-line workers at its warehouses, data centers and Whole Foods Market grocery stores receive the vaccine “at the earliest appropriate time.” Amazon wrote that it employs more than 800,000 people in the U.S., making it the nation’s second-largest employer behind Walmart.
“We are proud of the role that our essential employees have played this year to help our customers stay safe and receive important products at their home,” wrote Dave Clark, Amazon’s SVP of world-wide operations. “We request that [the CDC panel] continue to prioritize these essential workers who cannot work from home.”
Amazon appears to be the first food retailer to request that its front-line workers get priority access to the vaccine.
In the same week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) advocated for the retail workforce to be included among the early recipient groups for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Retailers have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic protecting associates, serving customers and keeping the communities in which they live and work safe and healthy. The industry invested billions of dollars to provide protective gear and trainings for their associates and to make the necessary changes to achieve and exceed health and safety recommendations made in municipal, state and federal guidelines," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "NRF has submitted a letter to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC in favor of including the retail workforce among those with access to the COVID-19 vaccines during the early stages of its distribution.
“It is critically important those working in our nation’s stores, distribution centers, warehouses and throughout the retail ecosystem are among the early recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine. The retail industry directly employs 32 million Americans, and we cannot lose sight of the importance of keeping them and the consumers they serve safe from this deadly disease.”
Seattle-based Amazon is No. 1 on The PG 100 list, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while its Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market banner is No. 24.