It’ll require more than a small army to dole out the Pfizer [$PFE] and BioNTech [$BNTX] vaccine that was recently green-lighted for emergency use by the FDA. Efforts are already underway to transport and distribute the vaccine across the nation to health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities receiving priority access to the vaccine.
To expedite the process, Walgreens [$WBA] is looking to fill 25,000 positions, which includes nurses, pharmacists and health-care workers alike to dispense the vaccine to those in long-term care facilities. CVS [$CVS] is also “urgently hiring thousands of qualified pharmacists, nurses and pharmacy technicians” on top of the 10,000 roles that have already been filled to help parcel out the vaccine, per an email sent to customers. The two drugstore chains landed a deal with the government in October to deliver a vaccine to nursing homes once approved.
Walmart [$WMT] is also readying over 5,000 “Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies to receive the vaccine doses” and “making sure we have freezers in all our pharmacies, as well as dry ice to handle any requirements for storing the vaccine,” Walmart’s chief medical officer, Dr. Tom Van Gilder, noted in a company blog post on December 10. Here’s How The Vaccine Gets Distributed
Given that more than 10 million Americans remain unemployed due to the virus-induced recession, there is yuge demand to land a new job, a bulk of which are in the services industry. Many Americans are optimistic that the arrival of the vaccine will result in more job opportunities.
On Indeed, a job-posting site, the share of searches containing “vaccine” leaped by 116% within the first week of December, said Ann Elizabeth Konkel, an economist at Indeed. “There’s been an uptick in the share of job postings that contain phrases like ‘COVID-19 vaccine’, ‘coronavirus vaccine’ in the job description,” she added. The majority of these postings are related to pharmacy, healthcare or scientific research opportunities.
“While there’s been a spotlight on the transportation angle of the vaccine, employers aren’t calling out the vaccine specifically in warehousing or transportation-related jobs,” Konkel said. That may change as the vaccine makes its way to rural areas of the country, said Susan Beardslee, a freight transportation and logistics analyst at tech market advisory firm, ABI Research.
“In parts of the U.S. where you don’t have a large centralized population, I will be surprised if FedEx [$FDX] and UPS [$UPS] are not partnering or subcontracting with other companies,” that handle package delivery in those areas. However, hiring isn’t likely to begin until early spring of 2021.
What’s more, there’s a shortage of some 80,000 commercial drivers in the U.S., largely because of a disruption in training courses amid the pandy, salary increases and more desirable routes could be leveraged to lure back drivers that have left the industry. UPS and FedEx have jointly committed to transporting the majority of the vaccines across the country. Both have already added more than 50,000 workers to the payroll in September and October in anticipation of a spike in demand for their services both for the vaccine and holiday shipments.
As of Monday afternoon, 55 sites received vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, Gen. Gustave Perna, chief operation officer for Operation Warp Speed said on Monday. A total of 636 locations are expected to receive vaccines by Wednesday. Hey Pfizer, Moderna said “Hold My Beer”