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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Instacart has asked public health authorities to include its workers as part of the essential workers who'll get COVID-19 vaccines, according to letters it provided to Axios. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have made similar requests in recent days.

Why it matters: These workers are disproportionately bearing more exposure and risk than many of their customers, who have the luxury of staying home and having their groceries and food delivered.

Yes, but: The companies have actively fought not to classify their workers as employees, which would give them full benefits, such as health care coverage and sick leave.

  • The companies have provided workers with some safety supplies throughout the pandemic and limited pay if they get sick with the virus, but workers have complained of problems in accessing these resources.
  • Instacart is sending letters to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as all 50 governors.

Between the lines: Getting their workers vaccinated earlier rather than later could help the companies' bottom lines if more drivers feel comfortable giving rides and doing deliveries, and if it makes ride-hailing passengers more comfortable booking rides.

The bottom line: It remains to be seen what the states, which are in charge of doling out the vaccines, will do and how they would provide shots to gig workers given that many of them don't work a set number of hours and they often work for multiple companies.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 22, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden to attempt "emergency economic relief" by executive order

President Biden. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Biden will continue his executive action blitz on Friday, issuing two more orders in an attempt to provide immediate relief to struggling families without waiting for Congress.

Why it matters: In his second full day in office, Biden is again resorting to executive actions as he tries to increase payments for nutritional assistance and protect workers' rights during the pandemic.

2 hours ago - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) on Monday announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for all private companies.

Why it matters: De Blasio, speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the "first-in-the-nation measure" will go into effect starting Dec. 27. It will apply to approximately 184,000 businesses.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent.