Amazon wrote to the Biden President on Thursday asking for media and technology assistance. Microsoft is opening its largely empty office campus as an immunization center as part of its broader partnership with the State of Washington. Starbucks is assigning workers from its operations and analytics divisions to help design vaccination sites and contribute labor for the same state while continuing to pay employees.
While a number of retailers and drugstore chains have been directly involved in the rollout of the coronavirus vaccination, what is more surprising is the number of companies that have offered to help, although not much involved in care. health care.
What these companies have are vast national footprints, substantial manpower, huge distribution warehouses and, in some cases, empty office buildings. And they have the money to devote to a public service effort that can enhance their public image and profits.
“Big companies can think big,” said Arthur Herman, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a consulting organization in Washington, DC, “They can afford to step back and think about the role. as a social force in their own state and within the country. They also have huge supply chains and logistics connections ”.
When Mr. Biden tries to reach his goal of taking 100 million doses in 100 days, he will need all the help he can get. The President has asked Congress for $ 20 billion to help fund vaccinations in stadiums, pharmacies and the like. He said Friday that he has been exploiting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to operate up to 100 mass vaccination sites.
But the private sector can support government efforts with data storage, scheduling appointments, providing supplies to clinics and hospitals, etc.
Suketu Gandhi, a partner at Kearney, a consulting and management firm, said: “Amazon, Google, Microsoft, these people are consumer-oriented people who can handle billions of transactions daily.
Washington’s governor, Jay Inslee, has included help from companies like Starbucks, Costco and Microsoft in a plan to vaccinate 45,000 residents a day.
“We’re not a healthcare company,” said Kevin Johnson, chief executive of Starbucks, at a press conference announcing the partnership on Monday, “but Starbucks has the scale of operations. 33,000 stores, serving 100 million customers per week. And we have a world-class team of people-centered design engineers working under the direction of the government and healthcare providers like Sweden, Kaiser Permanente and others. others. “
Governor Inslee said the coffee chain will advance its expertise in “operational efficiency,” among other things.
While the exact order of vaccine recipients may vary by state, most medical staff and residents of long-term care facilities will have top priority. If you want to understand how this decision was made, this article will help.
Life will only return to normal when the whole society has enough protection against coronavirus. When countries allow vaccines, they will only be able to vaccinate a few percent of their citizens at most during the first few months. Most unvaccinated people will still be susceptible to infection. More and more coronavirus vaccines are showing strong protection from disease. But people can also spread the virus without even knowing they are infected because they experience only mild symptoms or no symptoms. Scientists still do not know whether the vaccine will stop the transmission of the coronavirus. So, for the time being, even those who have been vaccinated need to wear a mask, avoid crowds in the house, etc.Once enough people are vaccinated, the corona virus will be very hard to find easy people. infected. Depending on how quickly we as a society reach that goal, life could begin to approach something normal by fall of 2021.
Yes, but not forever. Two vaccines likely to be licensed this month have clearly protected people from getting sick from Covid-19. But the clinical trials that yielded these results were not designed to determine whether vaccinated people could still spread coronavirus without developing symptoms. That is still a possibility. We know that people with coronavirus spontaneously can spread it while they don’t have a cough or other symptoms. Researchers will be vigorously studying this question when the vaccine comes out. Meanwhile, even those who have been vaccinated need to think they are contagious.
Pfizer and BioNTech vaccines are given as an injection into the arm, just like other conventional vaccines. The injections will be no different from the ones you have given before. Tens of thousands of people have been immunized, and none of them have reported any serious health problems. But some of them experience short-term discomfort, including soreness and flu-like symptoms that usually last one day. People may need to plan on taking time off from work or school the day after their second shot. While these experiences are unpleasant, they are a good sign: they are the result of your own immune system getting into the vaccine and producing a strong response that will provide immunity. long term translation.
Are not. Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines use a genetic molecule to build the immune system. That molecule, called an mRNA, is eventually destroyed by the body. MRNA is encapsulated in an oily bubble that can bind to the cell, allowing the molecule to slip in. Cells use mRNA to make proteins from the coronavirus, which can stimulate the immune system. At any given time, each of our cells can contain hundreds of thousands of mRNA molecules they produce to make their own proteins. When those proteins are made, our cells chopped up the mRNA with special enzymes. The mRNA molecules that our cells make can last for only a few minutes. The MRNA in vaccines is designed to fight the cell’s enzymes a little longer, so that the cell can make more viral proteins and induce a stronger immune response. But mRNAs can last for a maximum of a few days before they are destroyed.
Microsoft will open an empty building on its Redmond campus for vaccination to cooperate with state and healthcare providers. It is also providing its technology, based on capabilities it has provided to the government, including artificial intelligence to the State Department of Health to help track hospital admissions and tests.
“Technology certainly plays a role in vaccine delivery, basically it plays a role in distributing everything in the world,” said Microsoft president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith. said at the deployment announcement event.
Amazon is hosting a pop-up vaccine clinic in Seattle on Sunday, through a partnership with Virginia Mason Medical Center; they hope to vaccinate 2,000 people. The company has also offered to vaccinate its own employees in the state, many of whom say necessary workers – an offer the company also made to Tennessee.
Last week, Amazon told the Biden administration that it could support “operations, information technology and communications capabilities”. It did not detail The New York Times about what the support would require.
“The size of some of these retailers is very important,” said Andrew Lipsman, an analyst at data analytics firm eMarketer. “They have never been better equipped to handle mass increases, especially because they had to strengthen their operational capacities in the midst of a pandemic.”
Certain companies may hope their offers will interest them in the new administration – or the public.
“It is wonderful to be considered a helper in this crisis,” said Herman, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.
Companies are also encouraging their workers to get vaccinated. Representatives for Kroger and Walmart said vaccination efforts will include their employees who qualify for the vaccination.
Some retailers are directly encouraging their employees to get vaccinated.
JBS, the meat packaging giant, is offering a bounty of $ 100. (Industry working conditions make their employees particularly susceptible to coronavirus.) Dollar General, which has 157,000 workers at about 17,000 stores, will pay them four hours if they get vaccinated. Grocery delivery service Instacart says it will offer a $ 25 allowance. Chobani pays up to six hours so that workers can get vaccinated.
“We will do our part to help defeat the virus that harms so many people,” said Peter McGuinness, Chobani’s chief executive. “And, in doing so, it will make our employees safer.”
The other companies’ approaches are more suitable than the carrots, saying they may require vaccination. Scott Kirby, the chief executive of United Airlines, which reported the biggest loss in a decade for the fourth quarter, told employees on Thursday that the carrier – and other businesses – could be required. Coronavirus vaccine must be given to all workers.
Companies whose employees are vaccinated are more likely to attract customers, making them feel safer when shopping or receiving help in stores. For some people, mass vaccination may be essential to keep their business running.
Herman, who wrote a book about the movement of American industry during the World War, said: “There’s no doubt getting their employees vaccinated is good for the business and will be. is an important driving force to get the economy on the right track. II.
Achieving national immunization, however, requires what Mr. Biden has described as a “comprehensive wartime effort”, with success dependent on coordination between companies, federal agencies and a Washington is deeply divided.
“These companies have a huge, huge opportunity to help,” said Kearney’s Mr. Gandhi. “Will they be saved during the day? I do not know.”