Walmart announced in early December that more than 5,000 of its stores would distribute a COVID-19 vaccine. Now that two have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the discount retailer is already administering vaccines to individuals living in one Southwest state who are in the "Priority 1A" group.
Walmart and Sam's Club recently began to provide the Moderna vaccine to health care workers and pharmacists in New Mexico, according to Dr. Tom Van Gilder. Walmart's chief medical officer wrote in a blog post that the state's department of health "carefully chose store locations to help ensure that the vaccine is safely administered in rural areas that need help supporting vaccine distribution to health care workers." (Keep yourself and your family safe from the coronavirus with The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.)
The company continues to prepare thousands of its pharmacy locations across the country to give the vaccine to individuals in the "Priority 1B" and "Priority 1C" groups. The people in these groups are essential workers, first responders, and older Americans.
"We will also be prepared for all Americans to receive the vaccine in the spring and summer when the broad rollout happens," Dr. Van Gilder said. "In the meantime, we will continue to protect ourselves and each other by wearing a face covering, maintaining social distance, and practicing recommended hygiene practices."
The federal government has partnered with 60% of pharmacies in retail and grocery stores across the U.S. to distribute the vaccine, including Albertsons, Kroger, and Publix. Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said the wholesale supermarket would "begin offering the general public COVID-19 vaccinations at its in-store pharmacies around early spring."