Amazon, Citing Free COVID Vaccines and Testing, to Stop Swabbing Warehouse Workers

Amazon said it will stop testing warehouse workers for COVID-19 at the end of this month, citing that vaccines are widely available and testing is free.

Last year, the company provided free tests to its warehouse employees as the tests were more difficult to procure. Warehouse workers were considered essential as they worked through the pandemic on packing and shipping orders.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

COVID-19 Test
Amazon said it will stop providing testing for its warehouse employees at the end of the month as vaccines and testing are more readily available to the public. A registered nurse stirs a nasal swab in testing solution after administering a COVID-19 test at Sameday Testing on July 14 in Los Angeles. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Amazon disclosed in October that nearly 20,000 workers, or about 1.4 percent of its total workforce, had been infected with COVID-19 by that point in 2020.

Vaccines began to roll out about two months later and in May, employees who uploaded a picture of their vaccine cards to an Amazon worker app were allowed to ditch masks in the work place if they chose.

U.S. cases of COVID-19 last week increased by 17,000 nationwide over a 14-day period for the first time since late fall, and an increase in death historically follows a spike in illness. Much of the worsening problem is being driven by the Delta variant first identified in India, that has since hit the United Kingdom and other countries, said U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

Health officials said Tuesday the Delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge and accounts for an estimated 83 percent of U.S. COVID-19 cases.

News that Amazon would stop testing workers was first reported by The Information.

Amazon Fulfillment Center
Amazon said that about 1.4 percent of its total workforce, had been infected with COVID-19 by October 2020. A worker walks out of an Amazon Fulfillment Center on March 31 in North Las Vegas. John Locher/AP Photo