Amazon offered resources to President Biden to help the new administration in its vaccination effort, but former Trump officials say the company never extended that aid to former President Trump.
Amazon, shortly after Biden took office as the 46th president of the United States, said it was “ready to help” the new government in meeting its goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of his government.
Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s global consumer company, wrote the letter to Biden on Wednesday, saying the company is “prepared to leverage our operations, information technology and communication and experience resources to assist with vaccination efforts. your administration “.
“Our scale allows us to make a significant impact immediately in the fight against Covid-19 and we are ready to assist you in this effort,” wrote Clark.
But two senior Trump administration officials told Fox News that Amazon never offered assistance to the Trump administration with the distribution of vaccines.
Amazon has communicated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government officials, Fox News was informed, but the sources said that no formal letter or offer was made.
Meanwhile, former Operation Warp Speed officials told Fox News that an offer from Amazon would not necessarily have applied because the Trump administration was not making a federal distribution of vaccines, but leaving the distribution to the states.
A spokesman for Amazon on Thursday night told Fox News that “the company’s interest is in helping Americans get vaccinated, period.”
“We met with Trump’s Operation Warp Speed to offer assistance with vaccine logistics and were redirected to the states. Then we wrote to all governors offering assistance in delivering the vaccine,” said a spokesman for Amazon. , adding that “throughout 2020, we made extensive partnerships with the Trump administration to respond to Covid-19: we worked with the State Department to collect personal protective equipment from China when American doctors had none, we built new tools for researchers and public health officials, we advise the US government on testing and more. “
“To suggest that we hope to offer assistance for political reasons is simply wrong,” said the Amazon spokesman.
Amazon also told Fox News that the company has been in touch with U.S. government officials for the past nine months about the response to COVID-19. An Amazon spokesman also pointed to a letter that Clark sent to a CDC advisory board on 16 December on vaccine distribution.
“We ask that [Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices] continue to prioritize those essential workers who cannot work at home, such as those who work at Amazon distribution centers, AWS data centers and Whole Foods Market stores, to get the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, “he wrote Clark to the president of ACIP, Dr. Jose R. Romero.
Clark’s December letter did not contain any offer to help with vaccine distribution.
On Wednesday, Clark offered “operations, information technology and communication and experience skills” to help distribute the vaccine.
Clark also reiterated on Wednesday that “key employees who work at Amazon distribution centers, AWS data centers and Whole Foods Market stores across the country who cannot work from home should receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. fast as possible. “
On December 11, the FDA issued the first emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech. Moderna’s vaccine was approved on December 18.
More than a month after the two vaccines began to be distributed, only 16,525,281 Americans received the first dose, according to the CDC. 35,990,150 doses have already been distributed.
The Trump administration was heavily involved in the vaccine development process through Operation Warp Speed, but left the states to distribute the vaccines.
“It is up to the States to distribute the vaccines, once they are brought to the areas designated by the Federal Government,” he said. former President Trump tweeted at the end of December. “Not only did we develop vaccines, including money to move the process quickly, but we also took them to the states.”
Biden promised to increase the federal government’s involvement in the vaccination process. On Thursday, Biden said he would use his executive powers to invoke the Defense Production Act to prioritize the manufacture of masks and supplies needed to administer vaccines. The Trump administration also invoked the Defense Production Act to expand the manufacture of fans and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the beginning of the pandemic.
Griff Jenkins, Edward Lawrence, Susan Li and Paul Best of Fox News contributed to this report.