US retailer Walmart will expand its Covid-19 vaccinations to more states as part of the Biden administration’s initiative to accelerate distribution.
Walmart, which has been conducting Covid-19 vaccinations in recent weeks at some of its stores in New Mexico and Arkansas, will now be rolling out the vaccine to select locations in New Jersey, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas, as well as in Chicago, and Puerto Rico.
Vaccinations at Walmart
According to a company spokesperson, each state will decide which population groups are eligible for vaccination, and the vaccine will only be available to those designated groups at Walmart pharmacies.
The spokesperson said: “We are going by what the state tells us in terms of priority groups they want our help vaccinating.” For example, adults ages 65 and over are currently eligible in Georgia, but non-healthcare essential workers are not.
In a blog post on Friday, Walmart wrote that it aims to administer 10 million to 13 million doses of vaccine monthly, “when supply and allocations allow,” across its over 5,000 pharmacies in the US and Puerto Rico.
The federal government has created a partnership program with 19 pharmacy chains, retailers and pharmacy associations across the country to help in vaccine distribution. The partnership covers more than 40% of US pharmacy locations.
Boosting US vaccine distribution
Latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that more than 17 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the US so far. President Joe Biden has pledged to administer 100 million doses in his first 100 days in office.
The Biden administration admitted that current vaccination efforts are not enough to quickly inoculate the vast majority of the population, stressing, “We must ensure that those on the ground have what they need to get vaccinations into people’s arms.”
Last week, Biden said he will use the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Guard to set up Covid vaccine clinics across the US, according to his plan.
Apart from Covid vaccine clinics, the Biden administration will “quickly jumpstart” measures to widen the availability of coronavirus vaccines, particularly at local pharmacies across the US. The plan states that this would ensure that Americans can access doses at facilities near their homes.
“Here’s the deal: The more people we vaccinate, the faster we do it, the sooner we can save lives and put this pandemic behind us and get back to our lives and loved ones,” Biden said at a speech in Wilmington, Delaware. “We won’t get out of it overnight, and we can’t do it as a separated nation.”
Ecommerce giant Amazon has announced that it will be opening a pop-up Covid-19 vaccine clinic in downtown Seattle, Washington.
Amazon will set up the one-day Covid-19 vaccine clinic on Sunday in its headquarters in downtown Seattle. In partnership with the Virginia Mason Medical Center, the retailer aims to administer 2,000 vaccines to the eligible members of the public.
Amazon executive Dave Clark wrote to President Biden that the company is “prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts. Our scale allows us to make a meaningful impact immediately in the fight against Covid-19, and we stand ready to assist you in this effort.”