President Joe Biden considered asking Silicon Valley for help with his vaccine rollout. The decision to join forces would further harmonize Big Tech and the Biden administration, after Biden packed his transition team with 23 Big Tech executives.
Biden will potentially request Google provide free advertising space to public health agencies. Amazon believes it can contribute IT and operations to help the vaccine distribution, and Airbnb proposes assistance in “vaccine depots” by utilizing its real estate inventory across the country.
The capabilities of Silicon Valley stem from having tentacles in almost every sector. For instance, Amazon is well placed to distribute the vaccine to local pharmacies, churches, and health clinics.
Stephen Morrison, former Clinton administration official and director of the Global Health Policy Center at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said, “FEMA does not have that capacity. The National Guard does not have the capacity. Amazon might.”
The Biden Administration said it is unafraid to consider including Big Tech in Biden’s push to roll out vaccines more quickly.
“We are consulting with many companies, including Amazon, about specific ways they can help execute the President’s national strategy against COVID,” White House Spokesperson Kevin Munoz said. “Companies with logistics and technical expertise could help Americans get vaccinated more efficiently and more equitably.”
The decision to pursue Silicon Valley’s help seems predictable considering Biden’s collaboration with Big Tech’s ability to censor his political opponents during his candidacy and transition. And Silicon Valley eyes this opportunity to remedy their political reputations during the Trump era while also boosting their influence within the Biden administration.