As plans for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine are made, Walmart is preparing itself to administer the vaccine at its physical store locations.
The big-box retailer has been training its more than 5000 pharmacists to disburse the vaccination and has worked on ensuring that the stores’ pharmacies are equipped with appropriate freezers and dry ice to handle any requirements for storing the vaccine.
“We have been on quite a journey the last several months, from entering into agreements with the federal government to distribute the vaccine, to preparing our operations and clinical services, all to get ready to be one of the places our customers and associates can receive the vaccine,” said Dr. Tom Van Gilder, Chief Medical Officer at Walmart. “I know we are all ready to get back to normal and enjoy life beyond the epidemic, and these vaccines will help us do that.”
Walmart is also working on entering agreements with states to support vaccinations where needed, according to the company blog post, and is putting processes in place to inform people of when they should receive the first and second dose and report successful vaccinations.
Last but not least, Walmart is working to educate its associates about the vaccination, so when eligible, they can decide whether or not they will choose to receive the vaccine.
“With 90 percent of the American population living within 10 miles of a Walmart, we will play an important part in making sure those who want a vaccine can get one when they are eligible based on their state’s prioritization, especially those in hard to reach parts of the country that have recently been hit hard by the epidemic,” said Dr. Gilder. “Our stores have adapted, strengthening online and delivery options and providing our customers with more choices on how to manage their lives. We have been doing the same thing in our pharmacy operations, offering curbside and delivery options, and now, getting ready for the COVID-19 vaccine once it is approved. Walmart and Sam’s Club stand with our communities, and we will be ready to serve you, just as we always have.”
The news follows CVS’ announcement earlier this month that the federal government selected the pharmacy to administer COVID-19 vaccination to eligible patients in long-term care facilities and homes.