Amazon wrote to President Biden Thursday offering to help with communications and technology. Microsoft is opening its largely empty office campus as a vaccination center as part of a broader partnership with Washington State. Starbucks hires people from its operations and analytics departments to design vaccination sites, donates the labor to the same state, and continues to pay employees.
While some retailers and pharmacy chains have been directly involved in rolling out coronavirus vaccinations, the number of companies that have offered help is more surprising, despite having little to do with health care.
What these companies have is enormous national footprints, a sizeable workforce, huge distribution warehouses, and in some cases empty office buildings. And they have the money to save for community service efforts that could improve both their public image and their bottom line.
“Big companies can think big,” said Arthur Herman, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington, DC think tank. “You can afford to take a step back and think about your role as a social force in your state and in the country.” They also have enormous supply chains and logistical connections. “
As Mr. Biden tries to step up the vaccination effort, he will need all the help he can get. The president has asked Congress for $ 20 billion to fund vaccinations at stadiums, pharmacies, and the like. He said Friday that he had hired the Federal Emergency Management Agency to operate up to 100 mass vaccination sites.
However, the private sector could help the administration efforts with data storage, scheduling, delivery of supplies to clinics and hospitals, and much more.
“Amazon, Google, Microsoft, these people are consumers who can process billions of transactions every day,” said Suketu Gandhi, partner at Kearney, a management and consulting firm.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee pulled help from companies like Starbucks, Costco and Microsoft in a plan to vaccinate 45,000 residents a day.
“We’re not a healthcare company,” said Kevin Johnson, chief executive of Starbucks, at a press conference announcing the partnership on Monday, “but Starbucks operates 33,000 large-scale stores and serves 100 million customers a week.” And we have a world-class team of people-centered designers working under the direction of the state and health care providers like Swedish, Kaiser Permanente, and others. “
The coffee chain will, among other things, contribute its know-how in the area of ”operational efficiency”, said Governor Inslee in a press release.
Answers to your vaccine questions
If I live in the US, when can I get the vaccine?
While the exact order of vaccine recipients may vary from state to state, most doctors and residents of long-term care facilities will come first. If you want to understand how this decision is made, this article will help.
When can I get back to normal life after the vaccination?
Life will only get back to normal once society as a whole receives adequate protection against the coronavirus. Once countries have approved a vaccine, they can only vaccinate a few percent of their citizens in the first few months. The unvaccinated majority remain susceptible to infection. A growing number of coronavirus vaccines show robust protection against disease. However, it is also possible that people spread the virus without knowing they are infected because they have mild or no symptoms. Scientists don’t yet know whether the vaccines will also block the transmission of the coronavirus. Even vaccinated people have to wear masks for the time being, avoid the crowds indoors and so on. Once enough people are vaccinated, it becomes very difficult for the coronavirus to find people at risk to become infected. Depending on how quickly we as a society achieve this goal, life could approach a normal state in autumn 2021.
Do I still have to wear a mask after the vaccination?
Yeah, but not forever. The two vaccines that may be approved this month clearly protect people from contracting Covid-19. However, the clinical trials that produced these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread the coronavirus without developing symptoms. That remains a possibility. We know that people who are naturally infected with the coronavirus can spread it without experiencing a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will study this question intensively when the vaccines are introduced. In the meantime, self-vaccinated people need to think of themselves as potential spreaders.
Will it hurt What are the side effects?
The vaccine against Pfizer and BioNTech, like other typical vaccines, is delivered as a shot in the arm. The injection is no different from the ones you received before. Tens of thousands of people have already received the vaccines, and none of them have reported serious health problems. However, some of them have experienced short-lived symptoms, including pain and flu-like symptoms that usually last a day. It is possible that people will have to plan to take a day off or go to school after the second shot. While these experiences are not pleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system’s encounter with the vaccine and a strong response that ensures lasting immunity.
Will mRNA vaccines change my genes?
No. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use a genetic molecule to boost the immune system. This molecule, known as mRNA, is eventually destroyed by the body. The mRNA is packaged in an oily bubble that can fuse with a cell, allowing the molecule to slide inside. The cell uses the mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus that can stimulate the immune system. At any given point in time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules that they produce to make their own proteins. As soon as these proteins are made, our cells use special enzymes to break down the mRNA. The mRNA molecules that our cells make can only survive a few minutes. The mRNA in vaccines is engineered to withstand the cell’s enzymes a little longer, so the cells can make extra viral proteins and trigger a stronger immune response. However, the mRNA can last a few days at most before it is destroyed.
Microsoft is working with the state and healthcare providers to open an empty building on its Redmond campus for vaccinations. It also offers its technology, building on capabilities it has already offered the government, including artificial intelligence for the Department of Health to track hospital stays and tests.
“Technology certainly plays a role in the distribution of vaccines, as well as in the distribution of anything in the world,” said Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, when announcing the rollout.
Amazon is hosting a pop-up vaccination clinic in Seattle on Sunday as part of a partnership with Virginia Mason Medical Center. They hope to vaccinate 2,000 people. The company has also offered to vaccinate its own employees in the state, many of whom are considered essential workers – an offer it has also made to Tennessee.
Last week, Amazon told the Biden administration that it could help with “operations, information technology and communications functions.” The New York Times was given no further explanation of what the support would mean.
“The size of some of these retailers is so important,” said Andrew Lipsman, an analyst with data analytics firm eMarketer. “They have never been better equipped to handle volume increases, especially as they had to increase their operating capacity in the middle of the pandemic.”
Some companies may hope that their offerings will attract them to the new administration – or the public.
“It’s great PR to be seen as someone helping through this crisis,” said Herman, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
Companies also encourage their employees to get vaccinated. Representatives from Kroger and Walmart said the vaccination effort would include their employees, who were eligible to receive one.
Some retailers give direct incentives to their employees to get vaccinated.
JBS, the meat packing giant, is offering a $ 100 bonus. (The working conditions in the industry make its employees particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.) Dollar General, who employs 157,000 people in approximately 17,000 stores, gives them four hours of wages when they get a vaccine. Grocery delivery company Instacart said it would be granting a $ 25 grant. Chobani covers up to six hours of wages so workers can be vaccinated.
“We will do our part to defeat this virus that has hurt so many,” said Peter McGuinness, Chobani chief operating officer. “And that way our employees become safer.”
Other companies’ approaches are whip rather than carrot, saying they may require vaccinations. Scott Kirby, United Airlines chief executive officer, who posted its biggest losses in a decade in the fourth quarter, told employees Thursday that the airline – and other companies – could make the coronavirus vaccine mandatory for all workers.
Companies with vaccinated employees are likely to be more attractive to customers, making them feel more secure shopping or assisting in stores. For some, mass vaccination can be essential in order to stabilize their business.
“There is no doubt that vaccinating your employees is good for business and an important boost to revitalizing the economy,” said Herman, who wrote a book about mobilizing American industry during World War II.
However, achieving national vaccination will require what Mr Biden has termed a “full-scale war effort”. Success depends on coordination between corporations, federal agencies, and a bitterly divided Washington.
“These companies have a great opportunity to help,” said Gandhi of Kearney. “Will they save the day? I dont know.”