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 compliance centers in Missouri, followed by Nevada and Kansas in the coming weeks. At the clinics, which are expected to run for about five days, licensed healthcare providers will administer vaccinations to employees.
The company said it hopes to launch vaccination clinics in additional warehouses across the country as more vaccine supplies become available to front-line employees in other states.
It comes as the US continues to accelerate the pace of vaccines, with the nation administering more than 2.5 million vaccines per day. Companies with essential workers, including Amazon, have been racing to give their workers priority access to vaccines.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance that employers with a large workforce can begin setting up Covid-19 vaccination clinics there. Agricultural giant Cargill, Tyson Foods, and some Detroit automakers and manufacturers are among a growing list of employers that have launched on-site clinics at some of their facilities.
Heather MacDougall, Amazon’s vice president of global workplace health and safety, told CNBC in an interview that the company has been working with a third-party administrator who secures Covid vaccines on behalf of Amazon.
“Most of these conversations take place at the state and local level where those decisions are made, in terms of who is eligible for the vaccine,” MacDougall added.
Some of Amazon’s front-line workers have already been vaccinated in the states where they are eligible.
The company has nudged its front-line workers to get vaccinated off-site by offering them a bonus of up to $ 80, or $ 40 for each dose. Employees experiencing side effects from the Covid vaccine are eligible to take unpaid time off, Amazon said.
Inside its warehouses, Amazon has taken steps to ease fears or concerns about the vaccine among its front-line workers. In private Facebook groups, some warehouse workers in the US have expressed skepticism and uncertainty about the side effects of the vaccine or the possibility of Amazon imposing vaccines on its workforce.
Amazon has posted educational information and positive messages about the vaccine in warehouses, including in “facility” fact sheets posted in facility restrooms. A message seen by CNBC told workers that the vaccine is “safe and effective” and is “the fastest way to get life back to normal.”
The company also sent a questionnaire to warehouse workers through Amazon Connections, an internal survey system, to assess their attitudes about the Covid vaccine and other coronavirus safety measures. An indication sent to workers read “Covid vaccines and regular Covid tests can help keep you and your loved ones safe,” and workers have the option of answering “OK” or “I’d rather not respond,” according to a separate document viewed by CNBC.
Amazon is already seeing considerable interest in vaccination clinics there. More than 1,000 front-line employees have signed up to get vaccinated at Amazon’s first on-site clinic at a warehouse outside of St. Louis, Missouri, which opened Thursday, the company said.
– CNBC’s Bertha Coombs contributed to this article.