Amazon is teaming up with Virginia Mason to host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic Sunday at Amazon’s meeting center on Seventh Avenue in Seattle, the company said Thursday at a press conference with Governor Jay Inslee.
Sunday’s event – the first in a long series, according to Amazon – aims to deliver 2,000 vaccines to people on Virginia Mason’s waiting list for the vaccine. Eligible Washingtonians can join the waitlist at virginiamason.org. The the state allows people aged 65 or over and people aged 50 or over in multigenerational households to receive the vaccine now.
As of Thursday afternoon, there were still less than 2,000 people on the waiting list, said Gary Kaplan, CEO of Virginia Mason. The hospital will email those who have crossed the threshold to get vaccinated at the clinic on Sunday.
Inslee has set a goal of delivering 45,000 vaccines per day; now, about 16,000 Washingtonians are vaccinated every day, although that rate is rising rapidly, Inslee said Thursday.
Amazon joins a rapidly growing list of local businesses that have signed up to help with the state’s vaccine rollout.
Microsoft will turn its sprawling Redmond campus – now empty of most employees due to remote work policies instituted at the start of the pandemic – into a mass vaccination site capable of vaccinating 5,000 people a day, said Monday. Microsoft President Brad Smith. Starbucks employees will help the state’s vaccine task force speed up inoculations. And preparations are underway to administer vaccines at more than 2,000 drugstores and Costco locations.
Amazon intends to host more pop-up clinics in the coming weeks, a company spokesperson said Thursday. Amazon will also loan one of its executives to the state’s vaccine command center, said Jay Carney, vice president of global affairs at Amazon.
The Sunday clinic is “a down payment on things we hope [Amazon is] will help us move forward, Inslee said at the press conference.
Amazon has repeatedly offered to help roll out the vaccine while asking its employees to be prioritized for the vaccine. Thursday’s press conference was no exception: Carney again offered to implement vaccination programs for the approximately 20,000 employees of the company’s warehouses, grocery stores and data centers across the state. from Washington.
“Because we have such large employee bases in these distribution centers, we can deliver a lot of vaccines very quickly,” Carney said. “The assistance we can provide to administer these vaccinations will help free up resources for other vaccination efforts.”
Amazon also sent a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday in which it offered to help roll out the vaccine and called on its lay employees to receive the vaccine “as soon as possible.” The company had has already made the same plea to Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine.
Other organizations have also organized mass vaccination clinics. More than 2000 people showed up at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Drive Vaccination Clinic in early January after offering his excess COVID-19 vaccine to non-tribal members.
The first state-run mass vaccination sites will open next week in Kennewick, Spokane, Wenatchee and Vancouver, Washington Health Secretary Umair Shah said Thursday morning. King County has announced it will open its own mass vaccination sites in February.
Healthcare providers are likely to hold more mass vaccination events in the coming weeks, Kaplan said at Thursday’s press conference.
“I’m really looking forward to getting some hits in the arms,” he said.