When Amazon offered back in January to help the Biden administration with the federal government's ongoing pandemic response, it said it would innoculate its more than 800,000-person workforce. The company is now starting that process, with on-site vaccinations for front-line employees to get underway at select fulfillment centers across Missouri, Nevada and Kansas over the next few weeks.
Amazon says it will expand the program once more vaccines become available in other states. In the meantime, it will give an $80 bonus to workers who get vaccinated on their own. That bonus is on top of other incentives the company has dished out to employees during the pandemic. It's worth noting Amazon isn't the only company working to help get people vaccinated in the US. Walmart, for instance, is hosting community events in 43 states to vaccinate people in underserved communities.
The start of employee vaccinations is the latest development in what has been a long saga related to Amazon's response to the pandemic. One of the more recent developments is a lawsuit from New York state alleging the company had failed to properly disinfect two of its facilities and follow appropriate contact tracing procedures. Amazon has said it has done its best to protect its employees — while now also embroiled in a debate on Twitter over whether its policies push workers to pee in bottles. In October, the company published data on how many employees tested or were presumed positive for COVID-19. Between March 1st and September 19th, 2020, the company said that number was 19,816. Based on data it looked at from Johns Hopkins University, it estimated the number of positive cases should have been above 30,000.