Several major U.S. corporations are partnering with local governments and medical providers to help distribute and administer COVID-19 vaccines approved for release by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).1 Some of these corporations include Amazon, Google, Walmart, Starbucks, Honeywell, Microsoft and Costco.2 3 4
Public-Private Partnerships Between Government and Corporate Giants
According to media reports, these public-private business partnerships are being formed because there has been poor coordination and miscommunication between the federal and state governments during the initial phase of the vaccine rollout. The Washington Post reported that although 39 million doses of the EUA vaccines have been distributed across the country, only 2.8 million people have been fully vaccinated.5
Responding to the slow pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the U.S., corporate companies have told government officials that they can use their logistical and technological resources to fast-track vaccine distribution and increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in communities.6
Neil Saunders, managing director of Global Data Retail said:
Big retailers are in an ideal position to help with the vaccine rollout because their core businesses are already geared around serving millions of customers day in and day out. They have locations right across the country and they have national distribution and logistics networks that are efficient and effective in getting products to every corner of the nation.
They’re basically already doing what the government needs to do with vaccines. Moreover, a lot of the very big firms like Amazon and Walmart employ so many people that they can kick-start the program by vaccinating their own staff.7
U.S. Government Pledges 100 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Administered in 100 Days
Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff said that President Joe Biden’s goal is to have 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations administered to Americans during his first 100 days in office. Klain said that administering 100 million vaccines is a bold and ambitious goal but that this metric is needed to show the American people that the new administration is pursuing vaccination of the entire U.S. population as quickly as possible.8
When asked about why there is a significant gap between the number of vaccines distributed and the vaccination rate, Klain said, “We need more vaccines, we need more vaccinators, we need more vaccination sites. And in the Biden administration, we are tackling all three.”9
Amazon, Walmart and Starbucks Offer Their Services to Increase COVID-19 Vaccination Rate
Walmart is preparing to offer COVID-19 vaccinations at 5,000 locations. Walmart said they expect to deliver 10 to 30 million doses of the vaccine per month through its pharmacies.10 The company said it will use its existing pharmaceutical infrastructure to train technicians to administer vaccines, build a digital scheduling tool, and work with state and federal governments to help distribute the vaccine to local communities.11
Walmart said that it has the advantage of being able to reach people who live in healthcare deserts but may have a Walmart location in their community.12 A news release by the company stated that, “With 150 million people passing through our doors each week, we’re in a unique position to reach people where they already shop.”13
Walmart is already vaccinating health care workers in New Mexico and its home state of Arkansas. The company is expected to start the vaccination program in other states by next week.14
Amazon recently opened a pop-up vaccine clinic at its headquarters in Seattle, Washington and partnered with Virginia Mason Medical Center to administer COVID-19 vaccines to the public. Amazon is providing equipment, staffing and supplies and Virginia Mason is handling appointment scheduling and following-up with patients for their second dose.15
In a letter sent to President Biden, Dave Clark, Amazon’s CEO of worldwide consumer business said:
We are prepared to move quickly once vaccines are available. Additionally, we are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts.16
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said the state has enlisted Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco and other big companies to help with its vaccine rollout, with a goal of vaccinating 45,000 residents per day.17
Starbucks is assigning workers from its operations services, labor and deployment, analytics and insights, and other departments to help design vaccination sites. Due to the potential costs, the company is donating its labor to the state and will continue to compensate employees while they work on the vaccination program. Starbucks noted that physical Starbucks stores will not be used as vaccination centers.18
Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks described the vaccination centers as, “It’s like a Starbucks with one product.”19
Google to Use Its Facilities As Vaccination Centers
Google said it will be opening up its own facilities to serve as COVID-19 vaccination sites alongside with some other measures to increase vaccination rates. The company has partnered with One Medical and public health officials to open vaccination sites in in California, Washington and New York City. The sites including buildings, parking lots and open spaces.20
Google said it will use its technology to populate state and regional vaccine distribution data in internet search results so that people are able to determine where to go get a COVID-19 shot. In the next few weeks, Google will start showing COVID-19 vaccination locations on Google Search and Maps in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.21
Click here to view References:
1 Telford T. Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon and other corporate giants moving to speed up coronavirus vaccine rollout. The Washington Post Jan. 22, 2021.
3 Sachs J. Starbucks, Amazon, Walmart Will Help Distribute The COVID-19 Vaccine. Grit Daily Jan. 23, 2021.
4 Molina B. Google to open COVID-19 vaccination sites, help users find out where they can get a shot. USA Today Jan. 25, 2021.
5 Telford T. Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon and other corporate giants moving to speed up coronavirus vaccine rollout. The Washington Post Jan. 22, 2021.
8 Kamisar B. Biden chief of staff says 100 million vaccinations in 100 days is just a start. NBC News Jan. 24, 2021.
10 Telford T. Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon and other corporate giants moving to speed up coronavirus vaccine rollout. The Washington Post Jan. 22, 2021.
11 Sachs J. Starbucks, Amazon, Walmart Will Help Distribute The COVID-19 Vaccine. Grit Daily Jan. 23, 2021.
13 Telford T. Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon and other corporate giants moving to speed up coronavirus vaccine rollout. The Washington Post Jan. 22, 2021.
14 CNBC. Walmart expands vaccinations in a boost to the U.S. Covid prevention program. Jan. 22, 2021.
15 Reuter E. Companies vie for a role in federal vaccine plans — and for their workers to get vaccinated. Med City News Jan. 24, 2020.
17 Cerullo M. Starbucks and Microsoft aiding with vaccinations in Washington state. CBS News Jan. 20, 2021.
20 Bursztynsky J. Google offers to use some of its properties for Covid-19 vaccinations. CNBC Jan. 25, 2021.