Amazon’s push to privatize vaccinations lifts the curtain on the US government’s transformation into ‘public private partnership’
Jeff Bezos’ firm’s offer to the nascent Biden administration to help deliver experimental vaccines across the US is a clever scheme to avoid potential legal liability – and burnish the e-tailer’s own reputation into the bargain.
The e-commerce behemoth reached out to the Biden administration on the day of the new president’s inauguration. It offered to help distribute Covid-19 vaccines to Americans, essentially offering to step in where former president Donald Trump had promised the military would deliver.
“We are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts,” the company’s CEO of Worldwide Consumer Dave Clark wrote in a letter to the Biden administration on Wednesday.
Clark explained that Amazon is not only running its own vaccination stations, but can repurpose these, given an “agreement” it has inked with “a licensed third-party occupational health care provider to administer vaccines on-site at our Amazon facilities.” Due to Amazon’s explosion in market share during the pandemic, it’s a given that these centers saturate every major metropolitan area.
The company’s rush to take over the job from the best-funded arm of the US government lays bare the real balance of power in the US. The same mega-corporations that were able to silence a sitting president and his supporters earlier this month are now cozying up to the new administration, which knows quite well what will happen if it takes up an antagonistic stance against the new digital overlords.
While the Biden administration itself has no enmity toward Amazon, whose founder Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post, a major pro-Biden press organ, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party would like to see their new president take back some power from Big Tech. By offering to participate in the Covid-19 vaccine extravaganza, Amazon is effectively immunizing itself against such efforts.
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Beyond Amazon’s self-promotion as the Savior of Humanity™, there might be other reasons to let a deep-pocketed private company handle the jabs. Despite millions of dollars’ worth of rosy propaganda, the new shots aren’t exactly free of side effects – and some are quite serious. The Norwegian government has already had to explain the deaths of 23 people after they received their first dose of the jab, including 13 nursing home patients, while countries from Israel to the US have experienced a raft of adverse reactions.
And even the manufacturers of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have acknowledged there is no proof the inoculation will actually stop someone from transmitting Covid-19. When one is distributing a vaccine supposed to be 95 percent effective against a disease with a 99.7 percent survival rate, there are going to be lawsuits. The US has already indemnified Moderna and Pfizer against having to pay out damages, but despite a near-airtight system designed to give vaccine victims no one to sue, the US government itself might have to cover a few of the gnarlier claims.
Thus, it’s a win-win – for everyone except the recipients, that is – to have Amazon deliver the jabs. They get all the positive publicity a do-gooding corporation could hope for, and provide an extra layer of insulation against having to actually compensate any potential victims of what is still very much a pharmaceutical experiment. Most Americans couldn’t begin to dream of going up against Amazon in a court of law – there simply isn’t enough money in the average person’s (or even average millionaire’s) pocket.
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Amazon already tried to get in on the ground floor of the Covid-19 bonanza back in March, partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (who else?) to deliver test kits to homes in the Seattle area. However, that program was shut down by the Food and Drug Administration two months later for unspecified reasons.
Jeff Bezos, the world’s second-richest man, has a lot to answer for, making record profits during a pandemic that has sent millions careening into poverty they never expected could happen to them. But if he can help the Biden administration out with its little vaccine ‘problem,’ both parties stand to benefit. Too bad that goodwill won’t do a thing for the American people.
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