As demand skyrockets for personal protective equipment (PPE) to fight the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon has launched a new section of Prime dedicated to stocking and supplying gear like face masks, thermometers and protective gloves.
One caveat: The site and its products are exclusively for hospitals and health care organizations.
“Teams across Amazon are urgently working across suppliers, to procure inventory of products such as facial shields, PPE (e.g. N95 masks), digital thermometers, ventilators, exam gloves and sanitizers. We will continue to update the product selection in COVID-19 Supplies as hospitals and government organizations come to us with new requests for products in need,” the website states regarding product availability.
Recode writes that PPE will be exclusively sold to hospitals and government organizations, and those interested in purchasing supplies must fill out this form to verify qualifications. The e-commerce behemoth also said it would eliminate the commission it receives from wholesalers to deliver scarce COVID-19 supplies to besieged health care settings and professionals, per an Amazon spokesperson.
Nationwide, Amazon found that there are approximately 6,200 U.S. hospitals eligible to access its inventory, including university, children’s and VA medical centers, as well as short-term clinics.
Government agencies that meet the qualifications to purchase PPE from Amazon’s repository include the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.
All purchases will be made on a first-come, first-serve basis.
This comes as Amazon has increased hiring and restructuring to support its large consumer base during the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon employees, specifically those working at Whole Foods grocery stores during the pandemic, intend to strike on May 1 over a lack of employee health protections.
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