Amazon, Virginia Mason to offer pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic

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Amazon, Virginia Mason to offer pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic

Amazon is partnering with Virginia Mason on a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic Sunday in Amazon’s Seventh Avenue meeting center in Seattle, the company

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Amazon is partnering with Virginia Mason on a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic Sunday in Amazon’s Seventh Avenue meeting center in Seattle, the company announced Thursday at a news conference with Gov. Jay Inslee.

Sunday’s event — the first of many, Amazon says — has a goal of administering 2,000 vaccines to people who are on Virginia Mason’s waitlist for the vaccine. Eligible Washingtonians can join the waitlist at virginiamason.org. The state allows people aged 65 or older and people aged 50 or older in multigenerational households to receive the vaccine now.

As of Thursday afternoon, there were still fewer than 2,000 people on the waitlist, said Virginia Mason CEO Gary Kaplan. The hospital will notify by email those who made the cutoff to get vaccinated at Sunday’s clinic.

Inslee has set a goal of administering 45,000 vaccines daily; now, about 16,000 Washingtonians are vaccinated every day, though that rate is rising quickly, Inslee said Thursday.

Amazon joins a rapidly growing list of local corporations that have signed on to assist with the state’s vaccine deployment.

Microsoft will transform its vast Redmond campus — now empty of most employees because of remote work policies instituted at the start of the pandemic — into a mass-vaccination site capable of vaccinating 5,000 people a day, Microsoft president Brad Smith said Monday. Starbucks employees will help the state’s vaccine task force fast-track inoculations. And preparations are underway to administer vaccines at more than 2,000 pharmacies and Costco locations.

Amazon intends to host more pop-up clinics in the weeks to come, a company spokesperson said Thursday. Amazon will also loan one of its executives to the state’s vaccine command center, said Jay Carney, Amazon’s vice president of global corporate affairs.

Sunday’s clinic is “a down payment on things we hope [Amazon is] going to help us with” going forward, Inslee said at the news conference.

Amazon has repeatedly offered to assist with vaccine rollout while requesting that its workers be prioritized for the vaccine. Thursday’s news conference was no exception: Carney again offered to implement vaccination programs for the company’s roughly 20,000 warehouse, grocery and data-center workers in Washington state.

“Because we have such big employee bases in these fulfillment centers, we can administer a lot of vaccinations very quickly,” Carney said. “The help we can provide administering those vaccinations will help free up resources for other efforts on vaccinations.”

Amazon also sent a letter to President Joe Biden’s administration Wednesday in which it offered to assist with vaccine rollout and asked that its noncorporate workers receive the vaccine “at the earliest appropriate time.” The company had previously made the same plea to Inslee and King County Executive Dow Constantine.

Other organizations also have hosted mass vaccination clinics. More than 2,000 people showed up at the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s drive-thru vaccination clinic in early January after it offered its excess COVID-19 vaccine to nontribal members.

The first state-run mass vaccination sites will open next week in Kennewick, Spokane, Wenatchee and Vancouver, Washington secretary of health Umair Shah said Thursday morning. King County has said it will open its own mass vaccination sites in February.

Health care providers will likely set up additional mass-vaccination events in coming weeks, Kaplan said at Thursday’s news conference.

“I’m really looking forward to putting shots in arms,” he said.

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