Archive for Natasha Dailey

Burger King apologizes for saying ‘women belong in the kitchen’ in a tweet advertising a new scholarship for female chefs

burger king
AP images
  • Burger King's global chief marketing officer said he is sorry about how a company tweet came across.
  • The tweet, which read "women belong in the kitchen," was a "mistake," Burger King said.
  • Burger King launched a scholarship to help women get into the culinary arts and become head chefs.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Burger King apologized for a tweet stating that "women belong in the kitchen" on Monday after receiving criticism on social media.

The fast-food chain tweeted the message on International Women's Day as part of its launch of an initiative to help increase the number of women in head-chef roles. But many on Twitter said the company's initial tweet, which was followed in a thread by an explanation of its initiative, was tone deaf. Some told the Burger King UK account to delete the tweet, and others vowed to not eat at the chain anymore.

Following the backlash, the company said in an emailed statement to Insider that, "Our tweet in the UK today was designed to draw attention to the fact that only a small percentage of chefs and head chefs are women. It was our mistake to not include the full explanation in our initial tweet and have adjusted our activity moving forward because we're sure that when people read the entirety of our commitment, they will share our belief in this important opportunity."

Read more: How RBI, parent of Burger King and Popeyes, is tapping into Clubhouse buzz by connecting users to execs and bringing 'earnings calls' to the masses

Global Chief Marketing Officer Fer Machado said on Twitter the company is "indeed sorry" about how the tweet came across. "The intention behind the activity is actually good. Taking it down would give even more attention to it. Believe it or not I deeply care about doing the right thing. Will do better nxt time," he said.

In its emailed statement, the company said it is committed to helping women break through the male-dominated culinary culture in the world's fine dining restaurants. It's doing this by creating the Burger King Helping Equalize Restaurants, or HER, scholarship to support employees pursue a degree in culinary arts.

BurgerKing_IWD_PRImage_Newsprint_UpdatedScholarshipLine[2]

"This is a start in doing our small part to help women in the culinary field achieve their ultimate goal," the company said in the press release, adding that women occupy only 7% of head-chef positions in restaurants.

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Americans are expected to spend their third stimulus checks on clothes, home improvement, and dining out – and it could boost stores like Kohl’s and Home Depot

coronavirus stimulus checks memes
Getty Images
  • Outdoor dining and home improvement stores will benefit from Americans spending stimulus checks.
  • Value retailers like Walmart and Dollar General will also benefit, as in the past, Jefferies said.
  • Past stimulus checks have provided a crucial boost to the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Retailers and restaurants are poised to see a boost in Americans buying goods if President Joe Biden signs the $1.9 trillion stimulus package, as expected.

Apparel, home improvement, outdoor dining, and travel companies are set to benefit from Americans who receive the extra $1,400 in their bank accounts, analysts at Jefferies said in a Monday note.

After the last stimulus checks in January, retail sales that month saw an 8.9% bump, indicating consumers want to spend the extra dollars, Jefferies said. This time around, the checks, which in most cases are more than twice the amount of January's, could boost sales once again.

Read more: Buy these 14 stocks set to go into overdrive as consumers' stimulus checks arrive in March, Cowen says

Some retailers who didn't see much of a lift in the last stimulus round because of the "dead of winter" will likely benefit this time because of the spring season. With the nice weather, home-improvement projects and outdoor dining will be on the rise, so Home Depot, Lowe's, Olive Garden-owner Darden Restaurants, and Outback Steakhouse-owner Bloomin' Brands are poised to benefit. Apparel stores such as Ross and Burlington Coat Factory also will see a bump, per the report.

The January spending bill increased Americans' year-over-year spending 20%, according to Bank of America research. Those who received the checks also spent 30% more on their credit cards than people who didn't. Value-based retailers, like Walmart, Kohl's, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General, saw an increase from the January checks, and they'll "see outsized benefits" this time around, too, Jefferies said.

Companies most affected by shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic a year ago were department, clothing, and shoe stores, along with restaurants and furniture stores, Jefferies said. Those same companies are now likely to "generate the most opportunistic areas for spring 2021 stimulus benefit," the note said.

One survey, however, wasn't as optimistic that spending would ensue from the next round of stimulus checks. The survey, conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by Bloomberg, found that 34% of Americans, many of whom lived in wealthier households, planned on putting the $1,400 into savings.

In April last year, many Americans received the first round of stimulus checks, worth $1,200. Most people used the money to buy the basics: groceries and medicine. Many also used the cash to buy takeout meals and even streaming and gaming services as they hunkered down at home. Big box retailers like Walmart and Target posted blowout sales for that quarter last year, saying stimulus checks were largely to thank.

At the time, the checks gave the economy a crucial boost, according to experts. Now, on the third round of government spending as the federal debt increases, President Joe Biden has said, "now is the time to go big," adding that the government can't spend too much to help the economy.

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Burger King’s ‘women belong in the kitchen’ tweet, meant to critique the male-dominated cooking industry, receives backlash on International Women’s Day

Burger King
A Burger King in Los Angeles.
  • Burger King tweeted "women belong in the kitchen" to promote its new scholarship for female chefs.
  • The restaurant said it was a "mistake" to not include the entirety of the new initiative in its first tweet.
  • Some on social media said the messaging was tone-deaf and vowed to not eat at the restaurant.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A tweet from Burger King UK that said "women belong in the kitchen" was criticized on the social-media site on Monday, International Women's Day.

The messaging wasn't the work of a social-media manager gone rogue - it was tied to the chain's launch on Monday of an initiative to help increase the number of women in head-chef roles. But it struck people on Twitter and Facebook the wrong way.

BurgerKing_IWD_PRImage_Newsprint_UpdatedScholarshipLine[2]

Some described the tweet as tone-deaf on a day meant to celebrate women. Others said they wouldn't eat at the restaurant anymore. And others joked about the fast-food chain's marketing team thinking the message would be a good idea.

A Twitter account associated with KFC said Burger King should have deleted the tweet after sending it. "Why would we delete a tweet that's drawing attention to a huge lack of female representation in our industry," Burger King replied.

Gender stereotypes are still alive. A 2016 study found that people were even more likely than 30 years earlier to believe in gender roles such as that women cook and clean.

"Burger King belongs in a trashcan," Chelsea Peretti, a comedian and actress from "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," tweeted in response to Burger King. Still, the Burger King UK account added 10,000 followers on Monday.

Many people on Facebook reacted with the laughing emoji. Several commenters criticized those who didn't find it funny, while others said there should have been a better way to promote the new initiative.

"Our tweet in the UK today was designed to draw attention to the fact that only a small percentage of chefs and head chefs are women," a Burger King spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Insider. "It was our mistake to not include the full explanation in our initial tweet and have adjusted our activity moving forward because we're sure that when people read the entirety of our commitment, they will share our belief in this important opportunity."

In a separate statement, Global Chief Marketing Officer Fer Machado tweeted the company is "indeed sorry" about how the tweet came across, adding that "The intention behind the activity is actually good."

Burger King echoed its "women belong in the kitchen" messaging in an ad and a press release, adding that women "belong in fine dining kitchens, food truck kitchens, BK Restaurant kitchens, award-winning kitchens, casual dining kitchens, and ghost kitchens."

The fast-food chain said it was creating the Burger King Helping Equalize Restaurants, or HER, scholarship to support employees pursue a degree in culinary arts. "This is a start in doing our small part to help women in the culinary field achieve their ultimate goal," the company said in the press release, adding that women occupy only 7% of head-chef positions in restaurants.

Statistics from the US Labor Department have indicated that while more than half of culinary graduates are women, only about 20% of working chefs are women. The median pay for a chef was about $51,000 in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Masks will be needed until at least 2022 ‘for the safety of the nation,’ says CVS chief

fauci mask
Dr. Anthony Fauci wearing face masks.
  • CVS Chief Executive Officer Karen Lynch says masks may be need until at least next year.
  • Lynch says US is on its way to meeting goal of vaccinating 300 million Americans by end of summer.
  • Fauci said Americans may still be wearing masks next year, depending on vaccination and case levels.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Face masks will likely to be the norm until at least 2022, CVS Health CEO Karen Lynch said during DealBook DC Policy Project conference Tuesday.

Lynch said she hopes masks aren't a household item forever, but added that they'll likely be needed until at least next year to protect the country against the continued COVID-19 pandemic. 

"For the health and safety of the nation, I think it's important for us to really think about wearing masks until this is behind us," said Lynch, who began her role as CEO earlier this month. She added that getting everyone vaccinated and further studies on whether those vaccinated can still carry and spread the virus are important to lifting mask rules. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said last week it's possible Americans may still need to wear masks next year, depending on whether a majority of the country is vaccinated and whether COVID-19 cases are at "very low" levels. In the early days of his administration, Biden ramped up his vaccination ambitions and purchased enough vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna to vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of the summer. 

CVS is one of the retail partners that has worked with the federal government in getting shots in the arms of elderly Americans at long-term care facilities and now in vaccinating the general population. In the Tuesday interview, Lynch said, "We are well on our way to accomplishing what the president has asked, to get 300 million Americans done...  And I'm hopeful that we will get there."

So far, 13% of the population, or 44 million people, have received at least one shot of the two-dose vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This week, less than a year after the pandemic took hold in the US, the country passed 500,000 deaths related to COVID-19.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations have reached their lowest level since November, with some giving credit to the vaccine rollout. Still, experts have recommended continued facemask use and social-distancing measures to keep the the number of hospitalizations declining.

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Robinhood is adding more customer service representatives after Congress grilled its CEO about a lack of support lines

robinhood vlad tenev
Co-founder and co-CEO of Robinhood Vladimir Tenev in 2016.
  • Trading app Robinhood is expanding its live customer support following a heated Congressional hearing this month. 
  • The company said it will double the number of full-time representatives this year and expand to new areas.
  • Representatives grilled Robinhood CEO Vladimir Tenev last week after a GameStop stock trading frenzy in January.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Stock-trading app Robinhood is expanding its live phone support and doubling the number of representatives after the company's lack of customer assistance came under fire at a Congressional hearing last week.

In a blog post Monday, Robinhood said users will have access to "a registered financial representative" by phone to help with a broader range of issues, including account security and open or recently expired options positions. It plans to expand to more situations as well, such as trading and transfer issues. 

In doubling the number of full-time registered representatives this year, the company said it will expand to new regions to support the goal. 

"We want to make sure we're there for customers," the company said, "especially in time-sensitive situations."

During a Congressional hearing on February 18, Rep. Sean Casten called the Robinhood helpline and played the company's 12-second message that ends in a hang-up to give people a sense of the support Robinhood users receive from the company. Casten also referenced a 20-year-old trader who died by suicide after the app mistakenly showed a negative balance of $730,000. He didn't receive an answer from the company about the canceled options on the phone or via email and died by the time the company responded, his family said. 

Representatives questioned Robinhood and CEO Vladimir Tenev for five hours regarding the company's role in a trading frenzy focused on GameStop and other "meme stocks" in January. Tenev apologized to the Kearns family during the hearing. The company, based in Menlo Park, California, was founded to make the stock market more accessible to retail investors, but Casten claimed it takes advantage of inexperienced traders.

A company spokesperson declined to comment on the reasoning behind the expansion. 

"Millions of people are making their voices heard through the markets," Robinhood said in its blog post. "We're investing heavily in customer support and remain committed to improving to serve you."

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Experts warned of the digital divide for years. Now it’s ‘life or death’ as people struggle to sign up for online COVID-19 vaccinations.

Sayre picture 4 (1)
Cofounders of the Sayre Mobile Clinic Jay Shah (left) and Santosh Nori (right) register community members experiencing homelessness for healthcare visits and educate them on COVID-19 safety and primary care.
  • Underserved populations in the US struggle to get COVID-19 vaccines as providers rely on the web.
  • About 38 million Americans don't have internet literacy, and 25 million don't have internet access.
  • The barrier is another way underserved populations are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Newly minted college graduates Jay Shah and Santosh Nori started a mobile health-care clinic in October 2019, using a van to provide care to the homeless and low-income population in Philadelphia.

Neither could have predicted how the need for such a service would quickly grow. Just months after beginning work out of the van, called the Sayre Mobile Clinic, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US. Those without an internet connection or a computer struggled to get to the doctor or refill prescriptions as healthcare, like many other aspects of life, largely moved online.

People experiencing homelessness already face disparities in the healthcare system, Shah said. "And one of the things Covid-19 did was exacerbate a lot of those disparities because they don't have access to technology."

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is the latest to move to the web. Health systems across the US have streamlined the vaccine rollout through the internet. But those without internet access, or even more so, without a lot of time or internet savvy, are struggling to get in line for their shots. The people who lack access and time to sign up for the vaccine are the same as those most at risk for contracting and dying from the disease: minorities, homeless, and elderly Americans.

"It certainly is a life or death situation," said the Kaiser Family Foundation's Cynthia Cox in an interview with Insider.

Those experiencing homelessness or food insecurity often don't have high-speed internet, a computer, or sometimes even a reliable phone, Nori said, and because of that "a majority of that population is essentially elbowed out of the vaccine accessibility and distribution process." Without the van clinic, he said, the 250 people in Philadelphia's low-income population who have received vaccine doses so far likely wouldn't have had access. 

Black and Latino Americans, who are over-represented in the US low-income population and in essential-worker roles, have been two to three times more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 cases and deaths. But they haven't received their share of vaccine doses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Kaiser Family Foundation

The disparity is in part because of the digital divide, in which 25 million Americans lack internet access, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Within that divide, Black and Hispanic people lack internet access at higher rates than white people, the data show.

The problem stems from an absence of broadband connection in parts of the country, a lack of the technology to use internet, or a deficiency in internet know-how. But for many low-income individuals, having internet is "often a decision between internet access and electricity," said Mei Wa Kwong, the executive director of the Center for Connected Health Policy. 

Even with internet access, almost 32 million American adults don't have sufficient knowledge to navigate a computer, according to a 2018 report from the Department of Education. 

To sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, people need a huge amount of web savvy. They must check various websites, such as the state's Department of Health, local medical nonprofits, Twitter, hospitals and doctors' offices, pharmacies, and more to find out if they're eligible and where they can receive it. 

"People are spending hours out of their days trying to figure this out or trying to be first in line," Cox said. "It's not just about access to the internet; it's about access to time to spend on the internet. People who are busy working or taking care of kids may not have the ability to sit online all day trying to navigate various websites."

In an interview with Insider, Dr. Kent Bream, clinical medical director of the Sayre Health Center in Philadelphia, recalled one friend who stayed up until 2 a.m. to sign up for a vaccine appointment at Rite Aid. Individuals need "unlimited internet access and a job that will be flexible" in order to sign up for an appointment, he said.

"People who are experiencing homelessness, even if they have technology, absolutely cannot navigate what is needed to get through the lines," Bream said. "They do not have the resources to play a technology game."

In many cases, Cox said, people need an advocate. Her older mother-in-law received her vaccine with the help of her daughter, who signed her up on the internet. Kwong said she took the liberty of signing her parents up online as well. But, Cox said, not everyone has an advocate, and that often leaves behind minorities and low-income individuals. 

That's why medical facilities need to focus on meeting people where they are, said Bream.  

"When we frame health disparities as hesitancy, and non-adherence, and non-access, we're not thinking about being in the wrong place for the people in need," Bream said.

With regard to the pandemic, he said, "Technology was the solution for everybody who knew how to use technology, who had the fluency with using it, and the ease with using it."

The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium in Philadelphia, one group looking to help reach underserved populations, is hosting a "Vaxathon" this weekend, offering free testing and vaccinations for those who qualify.

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Super Bowl commercials cost millions, but the payoff is hard for companies to resist. Here’s which companies were the biggest winners last year.

Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy after winning the Super Bowl LIV.
Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes celebrates with the Vince Lombardi trophy after winning the Super Bowl LIV.
  • Super Bowl ads drove mobile and desktop traffic last year for various companies.
  • Data from SimilarWeb showed a spike in traffic from January to February for TurboTax and others.
  • Commercials during the highly watched game can cost millions. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Companies that advertised in last year's Super Bowl saw an increase in web traffic in the month after the game, new data shows. 

TurboTax, which aired its catchy music video ad called "all people are tax people," had a 47.7% increase in mobile and desktop traffic in February 2020 from January 2020, according to SimilarWeb data provided to Insider. The data evaluated web traffic each day in January and February for seven companies that advertised during the 2020 Super Bowl.

TurboTax wasn't the only beneficiary. Advertisers across the board saw varying levels of increased web traffic, the data show. New York Life's heartwarming ad which compared the four different Greek words for "love" helped boost the insurer's web traffic 15.5%. And for Discover, which aired its short no-fee commercial, had an 8.5% traffic boost following the game. 

Rocket Mortgage, Walmart, and T-Mobile also saw modest web traffic gains. 

Average Daily US Traffic
Desktop & Mobile Web Data
Superbowl & Post-Superbowl
January AverageSuper Bowl & Post-Super Bowl Average% Change
turbotax.intuit.com1,159,5671,712,75147.7%
newyorklife.com48,03855,50115.5%
discover.com1,227,5591,331,5238.5%
dashlane.com36,48137,6403.2%
rocketmortgage.com118,882122,6303.2%
walmart.com9,445,1099,712,8332.8%
t-mobile.com4,402,1214,460,8241.3%

Read more: Chipotle's CMO reveals why it's running its first Super Bowl ad, how it's taking more advertising in-house, and how it's preparing for the ad targeting clampdown

Super Bowl ads cost companies millions to air, with prices increasing nearly every year since 1967. SUch cost comes with a perk, of course, as the game is one of the most watched annual events in the US. The game has become the "championship of advertising" as people gather around their TVs to discuss the best and the worst commercials and to watch the game.

But some iconic brands won't be airing their ads during the game this year. Budweiser is putting its advertising money toward COVID-19 vaccine awareness instead, and Coca-Cola, Audi, and Avocados from Mexico won't be advertising at all. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

A COVID-19 Super Bowl is going to look different. From face masks to fewer fans, here are the NFL’s changes to the game.

NFL
Getty/SOPA Images


  • About 25,000 fans will attend the Super Bowl, far fewer than the stadium can normally hold.
  • The NFL will pass out gift bags with N95 face masks and will require cashless payments. 
  • Masks will be required at all times, unless eating or drinking.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, is going to look different than it has in previous years when it hosts the Super Bowl matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. 

Fewer fans, free face masks, and cashless payments are just some of the things making the NFL's 55th Super Bowl a little different this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"We're definitely going to make the best of it and put on the best Super Bowl that has ever occurred even if it's under some of the most difficult circumstances," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor told Insider. 

Stadiums are usually filled to capacity for the Super Bowl, but this year, only about a third of the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa will be used, with about 25,000 fans total spread out over 75,000 seats, Erik Finkelstein, the senior director of NFL events, said in a video. The stadium won't appear mostly empty, though, as the NFL made 30,000 cutouts of people to put in the seats. 

Of those in attendance, 7,500 will be fully vaccinated medical workers, mostly from the Tampa and central Florida area. The NFL gave them free tickets to "thank and honor them for their continued extraordinary service during the pandemic," according to a press release

Read more: A PepsiCo CMO lays out why the Super Bowl is the right time to relaunch Rockstar energy drinks

Super Bowl attendees will present their tickets on a mobile device. Once inside, they'll receive a complimentary gift bag with COVID-19 essentials, including an N95 face mask, antibacterial wipes, and hand sanitizer, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Past the entrance, are signs asking people to keep their face masks on at all times (except to eat or drink at their assigned seat), wash their hands, and maintain distance from others. Finkelstein said painted paths with arrows will direct the flow of crowds around the stadium concourse, and painted circles outside concession stands will indicate how far apart people should stand. 

Concession stands will be open, but cashless payments are required. Reverse ATMs that take cash in exchange for a card are available, just in case. 

And fans won't be getting a close look at the players, like normal. They'll be seated at least 20 feet away from either team's sideline to maintain distance between the fans and players. 

"It's a unique year that we're all working through with all of the protocols related to COVID," Finkelstein said. "We're really excited to be part of such a historic event on so many levels."

Read more: A crypto exchange wants to list futures contracts tied to the outcome of NFL games to help sportsbooks hedge their risks

The outside of the stadium won't look much different, except some empty parking spots and no tailgating, according to the mayor. 

The Super Bowl Experience, which is generally held in a convention center in the days leading up to the big game, has been ongoing along the 3-mile riverwalk in Tampa this week and last. Tickets to the experience, which include games, concessions and events, are free this year, "so fans that don't have a ticket can still experience the Super Bowl," said Rob Higgins of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission.

The mayor said an outdoor face mask requirement has been put in place in Tampa specifically for the Super Bowl. "The simple step of wearing a face mask can make all the difference," she said.

The city is planning to have an influx of visitors for the event, though not as many as it had planned on a year ago. "We were expecting a large economic boom from the Super Bowl, and we're not going to realize that," the mayor said. 

Still, Higgins said the community has taken a hit from the lack of tourism in the last year. "This is a shot in the arm when our community needs it the most," he said. 

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Chicago is turning to a private app to help set up COVID-19 vaccine appointments as the city faces scheduling hurdles

ZocDoc
Zocdoc mobile app homepage. Zocdoc.
  • Chicago and health app Zocdoc teamed up to coordinate COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
  • Zocdoc previously partnered with Mount Sinai in New York City.
  • Chicago is now in phase 1B of its vaccine rollout, but needs more doses to meet demand
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The city of Chicago was searching for a solution for residents struggling to schedule their COVID-19 vaccination appointments and doctors trying to distribute doses. 

"Right now you can go check Walgreens, you can go check CVS, you can go check this hospital and this hospital and this hospital, and 17 clicks later there's no vaccine," said Tina Hildreth Anderson, chief of operations for COVID Response for the Chicago Department of Public Health. 

So the city partnered up with private digital healthcare company Zocdoc, and starting February 2, eligible Chicagoans can use the app to schedule their vaccine appointments. 

"When we started to come into the vaccination campaign, we thought we need to have a way to aggregate appointment availability across providers in a smooth and easy way that will be easy for patients and easy for providers," Anderson told Insider. The city first spoke with Zocdoc on Martin Luther King Day and announced the partnership Tuesday. 

At the end of January, Chicago entered into phase 1B of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, according to the city's department of public health. That means frontline essential workers and Chicagoans 65 and older can receive the vaccine, along with healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff who were elligible in phase 1A. 

Read more: 5 public health experts explain what the US needs to do to get COVID-19 under control as Biden prepares to roll out his plan

Anderson said the city took longer than the suburbs to get through Phase 1A because proportionally it received fewer vaccines per healthcare worker than some of the surrounding areas. Chicago, because it's a larger city, receives a direct allocation of vaccine doses from the federal government.

Anderson said providers were asking for help in getting vaccines to patients. One solution, she said, could have been for the city to create its own vaccination registration system, which providers would have to then adopt and rollout. But the easier solution was to work with an already available system that would be easily integrated at hospitals and elsewhere.

"That is Zocdoc's core business proposition," she said. 

Zocdoc is a digital healthcare marketplace where patients can find doctors, book appointments, and attend virtual visits. Last month, it rolled out a free vaccine scheduling service and made it available to public and private health systems across the country. 

Its first partner was Mount Sinai, New York City's largest academic medical system. In the first days of use, the app helped book 100 appointments per minute, maxing out the hospital's available doses

At the time, Zocdoc Founder and CEO Oliver Kharraz told Insider the new service is the company's "contribution to this public health effort."

Read more: Top vaccine developers are upgrading COVID-19 shots as mutations threaten our progress in curbing the pandemic

State and local governments received little federal guidance or assistance on how to manage the pandemic as it spread across the US. And, since the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were approved in December, cities also have had to manage the vaccine rollout. 

But, Anderson said, the pandemic has shown that, "the public and private sector have to work together." Zocdoc, she said, is used to helping patients navigate the healthcare system, so it's a "really good addition" to the vaccine rollout effort. 

Even with the new tool, though, Anderson said the city still faces a problem: It's only receiving 5,700 doses of the vaccine per day, and hundreds of thousands of people are now elligible to receive the shot.

"At this rate, it will take a year and a half," to vaccinate the city, Anderson said.

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Pfizer’s CEO says he sees ‘no issues’ in delivering 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines on time

pfizer vaccine
UPS employees move a shipping container with some of the first shipments of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine inside a sorting facility at UPS Worldport on December 13, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. Michael Clevenger - Pool/Getty Images

Pfizer's chief executive officer is confident that the company can deliver 2 billion doses of the company's COVID-19 vaccine to the world in 2021 and 200 million doses to the US by the end of May. 

"We forsee no issues with delivering the commitments we have made," CEO Albert Bourla said on the company's fourth-quarter earnings conference call Tuesday. He touted Pfizer's manufacturing and distribution so far of its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed with BioNTech and emergency approved by the FDA in December. A two-dose vaccine from Moderna was emergency approved shortly after. 

"Because of the dire need to vaccinate more people, we have explored innovative plans to increase the number of doses we are able to produce globally by the end of 2021," the CEO said. 

The company originally estimated it would deliver 1.2 billion doses worldwide this year, but after its vials were found to include an extra dose of the vaccine, the company boosted its goal to 2 billion. On Tuesday's call, the CEO was confident in meeting - and perhaps exceeding - that goal: "We now believe we can potentially deliver at least 2 billion doses in total by the end of 2021," based on the six-dose label, Bourla said. 

He reiterated his guidance that the company would deliver 200 million doses of the vaccine to the US by the end of May, two months ahead of the contractual agreement. "We are continuing to work closely with the US government on our production, release, and shipping schedules to help states ensure Americans receive first and second doses on time," he said during the call, based on a transcript provided by Sentieo.

Read more: How the pharma giant Pfizer teamed up with a little-known biotech to develop the first authorized coronavirus vaccine in record time

So far, 32 million vaccines have been administered in the US, with almost 6 million people received both doses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

When President Joe Biden took office in January, he ramped up purchases of the vaccines, one from Pfizer and BioNTech and the other from Moderna. The increased supply means 300 million Americans could be vaccinated with either of the two-dose vaccines by the end of the summer. 

Last week, Johnson and Johnson and Novavax released their versions of a COVID-19 vaccine, with the former showing a 72% efficacy at curbing symptomatic infections and the latter showing an 89% efficacy in UK trials. Both rates for the vaccines dropped when tested against the South Africa variant.

Pfizer, whose vaccine wasn't originally tested on the South Africa variant, released results of an in vitro study on the variant last week. On the call, Bourla said he was "encouraged" by the early study. 

The US has confirmed three cases of the South Africa variant, which can spread more easily and quickly, according to the CDC. Since the COVID-19 virus began spreading in the US last year, there have been 26 million cases and more than 400,000 deaths in the country. Globally, there have been more than 2 million deaths. 

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