BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart is expanding its vaccination efforts, offering shots at a growing number of stores as well as through clinics aimed at underserved communities, educators and its own associates.
“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. Walmart has worked to administer COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of residents in rural and vulnerable areas across the country,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president for health & wellness at Walmart. “More than 80% of shots administered through our 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.
“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.”
Dr. Pegus, writing on Walmart’s web site, noted that Walmart is conducting mobile clinics to deliver additional COVID-19 vaccinations in rural and hard-to-reach communities, and the retailer continues to offer vaccinations in its pharmacies, drive-thru events in its parking lots and at offsite locations operated with the help of community partners.
Walmart is also making special efforts to help teachers get vaccinated.
“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,” Dr. Pegus said. “We partnered with Dallas Independent School District to administer more than 1,000 doses to their educators and staff.”
Another special effort aims to get Walmart employees vaccinated.
“We are strongly encouraging all associates get vaccinated but are not requiring anyone receive the vaccine,” Dr. Pegus noted. “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.
“Additionally, we are hosting vaccine events to make it easy and convenient for our associates to get vaccinated, if they choose. This includes events in our distribution and fulfillment centers for Supply Chain associates, dedicated appointments in our pharmacies where we are administering the vaccine and a vaccine drive-thru in Northwest Arkansas for local associates near our Home Office, where we 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.”