An employee loads customer orders into a waiting tractor-trailer at the multimillion-square-foot Amazon distribution warehouse that opened last fall in Fall River, MA on March 23, 2017.
John Tlumacki | Boston Globe | Getty Images
Some Amazon warehouse workers will soon be able to get vaccinated against Covid-19 at their workplace.
Amazon announced Thursday that it is setting up on-site vaccination clinics at shelters in Missouri, followed by Nevada and Kansas in the coming weeks. In the clinics, which are expected to last approximately five days, vaccines will be administered to employees by licensed healthcare providers.
The company said it expects to launch vaccination clinics in additional warehouses across the country, as more vaccine becomes available to frontline workers in other states.
It comes as the US continues to accelerate the rate of vaccinations, with the nation administering more than 2.5 million injections per day. Companies with essential employees, including Amazon, have struggled to give their employees priority access to the photos.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines that employers with a large workforce can begin setting up on-site Covid-19 vaccine clinics. Agricultural giant Cargill, Tyson Foods and some Detroit auto makers and manufacturers are among a growing list of employers who have launched on-site clinics in some of their facilities.
Heather MacDougall, Amazon’s vice president for global occupational health and safety, told CNBC in an interview that the company has partnered with a third-party administrator who secures Covid vaccines on behalf of Amazon.
“Most of these conversations take place at the state and local levels where those decisions are made, in terms of who is eligible for the vaccine,” MacDougall added.
Some of Amazon’s frontline workers have already been vaccinated in eligible states.
The company has urged its front-line workers to get vaccinated off-site by offering them a bonus of up to $ 80 or $ 40 for each dose. Workers who experience side effects from the Covid vaccine are eligible for unpaid time off, Amazon said.
In its warehouses, Amazon has taken steps to alleviate fears or concerns about the vaccine among its frontline workers. In private Facebook groups, some US warehouse workers have expressed skepticism and uncertainty about the side effects of the vaccine or the potential that Amazon will require vaccinations among its staff.
Amazon has posted educational information and positive reports about the vaccine in warehouses, including in “INSTALLments,” the information sheets posted in facilities bathrooms. A report watched by CNBC told workers that the vaccine is “safe and effective” and the “fastest way to return life to normal.”
The company also sent a questionnaire to warehouse workers through Amazon Connections, an internal survey system, to gauge their attitude to the Covid vaccine and other coronavirus safety precautions. A prompt sent to employees said, “Covid vaccines and regular Covid testing can help keep you and the people you care about safe,” with employees given the option to answer “OK” or “I rather not answer “, according to a separate document. watched by CNBC.
Amazon is already seeing significant interest in the on-site vaccination clinics. More than 1,000 front-line workers have signed up to get vaccinated at Amazon’s first on-site clinic in a warehouse outside St. Louis, Missouri, which opened Thursday, the company said.
– CNBC’s Bertha Coombs contributed reporting to this article.