Walmart plans to start administering COVID-19 vaccinations via the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, announced last week by the Biden administration, on Friday.
Meanwhile, Southeastern grocer Publix Super Markets has boosted its coronavirus vaccine availability to nearly 600 pharmacies in Florida, and Midwestern grocer Hy-Vee plans a COVID vaccination clinic for this weekend.
Walmart said yesterday that more than 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in 22 states are receiving federal COVID-19 vaccine allocations this week and will begin providing the shots on Feb. 12, focusing on underserved communities with limited access to health care. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer added that it’s now administering vaccinations under the state and local allocations in 11 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico
To help prioritize administration of vaccines, Walmart said it worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and states to assess population density, customer demographics, infection rates and availability of local health care resources in determining locations to receive doses. The retailer also examined pharmacies in “medically underserved areas” as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration, including a Walmart store in Brewton, Ala., that was chosen as a COVID vaccine site because it’s the only location with such capability for 102 miles.
“Ninety percent of the country lives within 10 miles of a Walmart. We’re at the heart of many rural and underserved communities, and we are committed to providing access to vaccines as groups become eligible,” Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of health and wellness at Walmart, said in a statement. “Vaccinations to achieve widespread immunity are important for re-opening across the country. We’re proud to work together with the federal government, states, communities, customers and associates to reach that goal.”
Walmart and Sam’s pharmacies are partnering with CDC and states to administer coronavirus inoculations to eligible populations in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. The company said that, among those states, it will be the sole preferred pharmacy partner under the federal program in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Tennessee and Wyoming. Store locations offering COVID vaccines are listed at corporate.walmart.com/COVID-vaccine.