As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout ramps up and vaccine eligibility widens, Walmart is administering vaccines in more than 3,800 stores and clubs across 48 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
Cheryl Pegus, Walmart executive vice president, Health & Wellness said that Walmart has worked to administer COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of residents in rural and vulnerable areas across the country. Pegus noted that more than 80% of shots administered through the company's pharmacies and 60+ dedicated community events were in what HRSA designates as the most medically underserved areas of the country.
"For example, in Jackson, Mississippi, we partnered with the Jackson Housing Authority to set up in a community center for a low-income senior housing unit where we administered nearly 2,000 vaccinations to vulnerable seniors," she said, adding, "We remain focused on reaching communities with access issues and vaccine hesitancy, especially those located in medically underserved areas where Walmart has a presence. That continued focus will play a key role in reopening the country, and we hope to do even more and expand vaccine administration to all 5,400 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies when allocation allows. We’ve partnered with dozens of community organizations to host off-site clinics across the country, and we’re planning to expand our efforts with Walmart’s Mobile Wellness Fleet."
Pegus went on to say that mobile clinics will allow Walmart to expand its reach to deliver additional COVID-19 vaccinations directly to rural and hard to reach communities, "where we specifically worked with officials to target our allocation and efforts to increase access. To help ensure we’re serving as many populations as possible, we continue to offer vaccinations in our pharmacies, drive-thru events in our parking lots and in offsite locations with community partners."
Eligible customers can check for available appointments in newly activated areas through Walmart’s digital scheduler at walmart.com/COVIDvaccine and click here for Sam's Club vaccine information.
"Teachers in all U.S. states are now eligible for vaccination, and Walmart is proud to support educators and staff across the country as we help reach the national goal of vaccinating all teachers and childcare workers by the end of March," said Pegus. "In addition to prioritized scheduling for educators at more than 1,400 locations, Walmart has also partnered with large school districts including Dallas ISD; Jackson, Mississippi, USD; Indianapolis ISD and Acero School System in Chicago to hold clinics at both school facilities and within Walmart pharmacies to vaccinate educators, school staffs and licensed childcare providers. We partnered with Dallas Independent School District to administer more than 1,000 doses to their educators and staff," she said.
Pegus continued, "We’re doing everything we can to help strengthen our community of family, friends and associates during this difficult time. Our associates’ overall well-being – financial, physical and emotional – remains a top priority. We are strongly encouraging all associates get vaccinated but are not requiring anyone receive the vaccine. To help make that as easy as possible, we’re offering appointments to associates in stores and clubs, providing two hours paid time to get a vaccination and allowing associates to get the vaccine during their shifts if vaccines are being offered at their home location."
Walmart also is hosting vaccine events to make it easy and convenient for associates to get vaccinated, if they choose. This includes events in its distribution and fulfillment centers for Supply Chain associates, dedicated appointments in its pharmacies where Walmart is administering the vaccine and a vaccine drive-thru in Northwest Arkansas for local associates near the company's Home Office, where Walmart administered more than 1,200 vaccines to Walmart associates.
"Our associates have been heroes throughout this pandemic, and we are so grateful for them. We will continue to support our associates – and the communities we serve – as we administer vaccines and help reopen the country," Pegus concluded.