The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon has partnered with the Department of State Health Services to launch vaccination clinics at some of its facilities in Texas for its employees and contractors, beginning with a fulfillment center in San Marcos that employs more than 4,000 people, a representative for the company said.
The program, which could soon go statewide, began April 14 and is similar to Amazon’s employee vaccination programs in Missouri, Nevada and Kansas that began last month.
“Over the next couple of weeks and months it’ll continue to expand across the country, so you’ll see additional sites not only in other states but throughout Texas as well,” said Daniel Martin, Amazon’s operations public relations manager for Texas. “It is something we’re actively working on and moving pretty fast.”
Vaccinations at the clinic are voluntary and are also available to employees of Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon. According to a news release, the company also offers front-line employees up to $80 if they are vaccinated elsewhere.
The clinics are intended to provide employees with easy access to the vaccine, while also reducing the burden on community-run vaccination clinics, the company said.
“The faster that organizations can can step up and help, it’s just going to accelerate the timeline of not only Texas but the rest of the country and the rest of the world getting back to normal,” Martin said.
Kelli Folta, a learning coordinator for Amazon who helped set up the clinic in San Marcos, said it had a big impact for her because she did not have to make an appointment or miss work.
“[Amazon does] give you that time off to be able to do that, but having it there on-site where I could walk up, take care of it and not have to worry about anything made a huge difference,” Folta said. “If that wasn’t available, I wouldn’t have the vaccine right now.”
She said being vaccinated has also increased her sense of safety at work, but notes employees still wear masks and social distance.
“You never know what you’re going to touch and what you’re going to get anywhere, not just at Amazon,” Folta said. “So with all the people in there, I feel way better that a solid portion of our employees are getting vaccinated, and vaccinated very, very quickly.”
The release also touted Amazon’s voluntary COVID-19 testing program, which it said has spread to more than 800 sites worldwide and is part of an $11.5 billion investment the company has made in pandemic related measures.
“We just want to provide convenient, easy access to the folks that do want [a vaccine]—provide education for those that have questions about it—and give them the opportunity to do it,” Martin said.