Walmart, Sam’s Club to administer walk-up COVID-19 vaccinations

a person standing in front of a shop

An appointment is no longer needed to receive a COVID-19 vaccination at a Walmart or Sam’s Club pharmacy.

All of Walmart’s and Sam’s Club more than 5,100 pharmacy locations across 49 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., are now administering vaccines on a walk-in basis as well as pre-scheduled appointments.

Additionally, the retail giant is rolling out new programs to address vaccine hesitancy and will continue to focus efforts on increasing vaccine access across the country. Walmart has launched a nationwide Get Out The Vaccine (GOTV) campaign that will bring educational materials about the COVID-19 vaccines into stores and Sam’s clubs across the country.

As part of the GOTV effort, Walmart is utilizing mobile clinics to bring vaccines directly into select communities via events and gatherings. Most recently, Walmart partnered with the National Hot Rod Association at their Southern Nationals Event in Commerce, Ga., to offer walk-up vaccinations for race fans, educational resources with background on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines and an official Walmart branded dragster with information on how to schedule a vaccine.

Also, Walmart and Sam’s Club continue to emphasize vaccine access in locations that reach customers in vulnerable communities. With the expansion of vaccine supply nationwide, there are now nearly 4,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club locations administering the vaccine in locations designated as “Medically Underserved Areas” by the Health Resources and Services Location (HRSA).

To encourage vaccination in these communities, Walmart and Sam’s Club have also partnered with national and local non-profits, community partners and faith-based organizations to bring community vaccine events to residents. In total, Walmart and Sam’s Club have supported more than 200 vaccine events staffed by pharmacists and technicians who are trained in addressing vaccine hesitancy. The retailers are also working with more than 100 employers across the country to vaccinate their employees to help reopen the country.

“Now that supply and eligibility have expanded, it’s even more important for us to reach underserved and vulnerable populations to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive VP, Health & Wellness, said. “Widespread vaccination is the only way we will eventually end the pandemic and help our country reopen, and we don’t want anyone to get left behind as we enter this new chapter in our fight against COVID-19.”

Walmart and Sam’s Club continue to strongly encourage, but not mandate, employees to get vaccinated. The company is offering appointments to associates in stores and clubs, providing two hours’ paid time to get a vaccination at the location of their choice and allowing associates to get the vaccine during their shifts if vaccines are being offered at their location. The company also enhanced its COVID-19 emergency leave policy to include three days of paid leave for any vaccine side effects for associates.

This story originally appeared on Chain Store Age