MILAN – Washington State has announced a new robust public-private partnership featuring corporations headquartered in the state – including Starbucks, Microsoft and Costco – to boost its vaccine distribution efforts. Starbucks will assign several employees to work on “operational efficiency, scalable modeling and human-centered design expertise and support,” Gov. Jay Inslee announced Monday.
Starbucks locations will not serve as vaccination sites, but the company said it will use its technology and logistical “expertise” to help with site selection and “optimize vaccination sites with design principles and solutions focused on efficiency to thruput.”
As part of the new group, Microsoft is lending its technology expertise and support while Costco is focused on vaccine delivery by pharmacies. Kaiser Permanente is responsible for planning and delivery of mass vaccine doses to providers.
Most of this work will come from Starbucks’s Tryer Center innovation lab, a 20,000-foot facility on the bottom floor of its Seattle-based headquarters. Usually, the lab is where the company plans out new menu items and store designs, but it’s now being used partly as a mock vaccination site.
“Starbucks is not a healthcare company, but we do operate 33,000 stores at scale, serving 100 million customers per week,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson at a press conference.
“And we have a world-class team of human-centered design engineers who are working under the direction of the state and healthcare providers, like Swedish, Kaiser Permanente and others, with Microsoft and many other businesses to help support the creation of vaccination centers that can scale.”