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Amazon offers to help President Joe Biden reach vaccination goal

Virus Outbreak-Amazon
Posted at 11:03 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 06:39:01-05

PHOENIX — Amazon is offering up its distribution centers as a way to get more vaccines out into the community. The tech company sent a letter to President Joe Biden explaining how it would like to help with his goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days.

“Amazon is negotiating here at this moment,” says ASU Professor Hitendra Chaturvedi, W. P. Carey School of Business, supply chain management.

Chaturvedi says the goal is to get vaccines faster to all the places that need them.

Chaturvedi says it all depends on the supply, whether there are enough vaccines, which is something that would need to be figured out first by the new administration.

"If I have an amazing distribution network but supply is constrained, then the distribution center cannot go far. But, if I have enough supplies and if my distribution network is the one that is the problem, then I would absolutely go and have a discussion with Amazon," says Chaturvedi.

The Arizona Department of Health Services told ABC15 earlier this week that the number of vaccine doses provided by the federal government is limited. They also say the main barrier right now to providing even more capacity is the availability of the vaccine nationally.

A doctor working a local vaccine POD site says staffing is also a challenge and that any type of help is appreciated.

"I do think this is a community effort to get the vaccinations out and any support that the community can offer, including some patience, as this is being rolled out. We're all doing our very best to get the vaccinations out as quickly as possible," says Dr. Tiffany Pankow with HonorHealth.

Chaturvedi says there were several advantages to taking Amazon up on its offer, as long as there is justification.

"They are pushing 85% of their packages through their own trucking and distribution network. They, through their own system, through their own trucks (not UPS, not any other third-party) they, delivered over four billion out of the five billion packages that Amazon delivered. So, distribution capabilities are second to none," says Chaturvedi.

Amazon says if President Biden were to take the offer, it has an agreement with a third-party health provider to administer vaccines to employees at its facilities.