Amazon offered on Joe Biden’s first day as president to help speed the US rollout of Covid-19 vaccinations, leading observers to wonder why the world’s largest retailer didn’t step forward before Donald Trump left the White House.
NEW @NBCNews: Amazon has extended offer to President Joe Biden to assist with national Covid vaccine distribution.— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) January 20, 2021
In letter to @POTUS, Amazon Consumer CEO Dave Clark says "Amazon stands ready to assist you…”https://t.co/1DZ7apVy4H pic.twitter.com/DPoGi9yT4G
“Amazon stands ready to assist you in reaching your goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of your administration…” Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s consumer unit, said on Wednesday in a letter to Biden.
While many Americans cheered the offer, knowing Amazon’s prowess as a global leader in distribution, the timing struck some as agonizing after watching US Covid-19 deaths spike above 4,000 a day earlier this month.
The nation’s accumulated death toll from the virus topped 400,000 on Tuesday.
Trump and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have feuded since at least 2015, and Amazon political donors favour Democrats over Republicans by a wide margin.
Just as US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi admittedly stalled Covid-19 relief legislation to avoid letting Trump look good and just as Pfizer was accused of delaying news of its positive vaccine trial results until after Trump lost the 3rdNovember 3 election, Amazon had political reasons for timing its offer to Biden’s inauguration.
“Good to know you care more about your political agenda than [the] lives of Americans,” one Twitter user said. “Where were you a month ago?”
Amazon is now offering China Joe help to get the vaccine out to America. So, in other words, Amazon chose to let Americans die instead of doing this during the Trump Admin.— 🚂🇺🇸TheRealJaxon🇺🇸🚂 (@wolffshadow) January 20, 2021
Another commenter agreed: “Amazon is now offering China Joe help to get the vaccine out to America. So, in other words, Amazon chose to let Americans die instead of doing this during the Trump administration.”
Can't have Trump getting credit. And those people who died who could have gotten the vaccine earlier if Amazon had volunteered earlier…that's just collateral damage to the left.— Leatherneck (@Leatherneck) January 20, 2021
Those who died while Amazon held back its help were “just collateral damage to the left,” still another observer said.
In its letter to Biden, the online retailer reiterated a request to move its 800,000 US employees up the priority list as early vaccine recipients and said it has made arrangements with a healthcare provider to administer inoculation shots to those workers on-site, at all of its facilities.
“We are committed to assisting your administration’s vaccination efforts as we work together to protect our employees and continue to provide essential services during the pandemic,” Clark said.
While campaigning, Biden warned of a “dark winter” with a horrific rate of Covid-19 deaths, which he blamed on Trump.
With Biden now installed as president, Amazon’s offer to accelerate the vaccine rollout may be just part of a change in political tone around the virus.