SEATTLE — Amazon partnered with Virginia Mason Medical Center Sunday to host a free pop-up clinic in Seattle. The goal was to vaccinate 2,000 eligible people for COVID-19 in one day, and they ended up vaccinating even more than that.
"It’s a herculean effort by hundreds of volunteers both by Amazon and Virginia Mason Franciscan Health," said Dr. John Corman, the chief clinical officer for Virginia Mason Medical Center.
The clinic was held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Amazon meeting center on 7th Avenue in downtown Seattle. Virginia Mason provided the vaccine, supplies and volunteers. It was by appointment only and all 2,000 slots were filled as of Friday, but the clinic was able to squeeze in a few more at the end of the day.
"This is a, it’s a huge step. But it’s just a step. We need to do this repeatedly, we need to get the vaccine, we need to get people back to work, we need to be able to socialize with our family’s grandparents holding their grandchildren -- this is that first step toward normalcy," Corman continued.
People who met the state's current eligibility requirements were able to receive the vaccine Sunday.
"Hopefully, you know, when everybody gets vaccinated the numbers will start coming down, hospitalizations will go down and we can start to get back to normal," said Michael Kolker, a vaccine recipient from Seattle.
Right now, Washington is vaccinating people in Phase 1A, which includes high-risk health care workers and long-term care residents, and the first tier of Phase 1B, which includes people over 65 and people over 50 who live in multigenerational households.
Officials who held the clinic said they would like to hold more in the future as more doses of the vaccine become available.
Amazon announced the free clinic with Virginia Mason just a day after the company offered to help President Joe Biden achieve his vaccine goals by aiding in distribution.
Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon's Worldwide Consumer division, said in a letter to Biden on Wednesday that Amazon is "prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration's vaccination efforts. Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against COVID-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort."
Gov. Jay Inslee set a goal this week of vaccinating 45,000 people in Washington per day. However, between Jan. 6-12, Washington vaccinated on average 14,723 people per day.