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Amazon offers distribution services for Biden’s vaccination programme

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Amazon has sent a letter to US President Joe Biden offering to help roll out the Covid-19 vaccine to US citizens as he vows to inoculate 100 million people in his first 100 days in office.

Dave Clark, chief executive of the online retailer’s consumer business, said Amazon had signed an agreement with a healthcare provider to administer vaccines at its facilities.

“We are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts,” he said in the letter. “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.”

The firm has already arranged for occupational healthcare providers to administer vaccines to its employees when they become available.

But the US’s second largest employer could also leverage its considerable delivery network to carry out a broader vaccination programme.

While Amazon said in the letter that its scale would let it make an impact in countering the virus, it did not provide details on the form its help could take.

The firm has had a mixed response to the way it has handled the pandemic, with workers in Germany striking over its handling of employee health and safety when it failed to give them suitable PPE. A German regulator also investigated the firm for allegedly abusing its market dominance in the early stages of the pandemic by blocking sellers from inflating prices of in-demand goods.

Amazon employs more than 800,000 people in the US; it emerged in September that more than 19,000 of these workers had tested positive for Covid-19.

Biden signed a raft of executive orders upon taking office yesterday, with many aimed at rolling back the relaxation of environmental regulations under the Trump Administration. He is expected to sign a further 10 today as part of his efforts to get the pandemic under control.

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