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Amazon: Warehouse, grocery workers should be prioritized for vaccine

Amazon: Warehouse, grocery workers should be prioritized for vaccine
© UPI Photo

Amazon reportedly asked the U.S. government to prioritize essential workers such as its warehouse, grocery store and data center employees to get the coronavirus vaccine, according to a letter obtained by Reuters.

The letter was apparently written by Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations Dave Clark and addressed to the chairman of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

“We request that ACIP continue to prioritize these essential workers who cannot work from home, like those working at Amazon fulfillment centers, AWS data centers and Whole Foods Market stores, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest appropriate time," Clark wrote.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, with the first immunizations taking place on Monday. Health experts have long stressed that the first round of doses will be reserved for front-line health care workers and those at high risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Clark acknowledged and supported giving the vaccine to health care workers first, Reuters reports, but said essential workers should be next in line to receive the vaccine.

While other companies have declared bankruptcy and furloughed their employees, Amazon has performed notably well throughout the pandemic. The company added more than 400,000 jobs between the January and October of this year.

Though its revenue has remained healthy, Amazon’s workers have been just as impacted by the coronavirus as the rest of the country.

Amazon reported in October that nearly 20,000 of its U.S. workers had tested positive or had presumed to be positive for the coronavirus.

Amazon has long been criticized for its harsh working conditions. There have been multiple accounts from warehouse workers that they are overworked and not allowed to take breaks or go to the bathroom, all in order to ensure that the company delivers products on time.