By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– Walmart and Sam’s Club today announced a new COVID-19 vaccine milestone: Immunizations are now available to customers and associates in all of their more than 5,100 pharmacy locations nationwide, across 49 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. Vaccines are being administered via both walk-up and pre-scheduled appointments, providing convenient options for customers to get protected against COVID-19 where they already shop for groceries and health care essentials. Additionally, the company is rolling out new programs to address vaccine hesitancy and continue to focus efforts on increasing vaccine access across 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 vice president, 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.”
Here are ways Walmart and Sam’s Club are expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines nationwide:
Providing Education on Vaccine Effectiveness: Get Out The Vaccine campaign (GOTV)
In an effort to provide education about the effectiveness and safety of COVID-19 vaccines and to help combat hesitancy and increase vaccination uptake, the company launched a nationwide Get Out The Vaccine (GOTV) campaign. The GOTV campaign is an extension of the retailer’s role in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program and the existing vaccination program underway nationwide and will bring educational materials about the COVID-19 vaccines into stores and 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, Georgia, 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.
Reaching Into Communities
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. These vaccine drives have helped protect thousands of people against COVID-19 to date. This includes a vaccine drive with the Boston Celtics to encourage vaccination in the Boston community and an event with Está En Tus Manos to reach members of the Latinx community in the Las Vegas area. 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. In addition, Walmart and Sam’s Club are working with more than 100 employers across the country to vaccinate their employees to help reopen the country.
“As the vaccine becomes more widely available, events like this one become important in ensuring that all individuals have access to these resources,” said Rich Gotham, Boston Celtics Team President. “We’re appreciative to be able to work with Walmart and the City of Boston to provide this service for the community.”
“Clark County is focused on vaccinating as many people as we can to fully reopen our local economy and ensure the safety of our residents and visitors to Las Vegas,” added Clark County Commissioner William McCurdy II, member of the Está En Tus Manos initiative, which is dedicated to educating Latinos about COVID-19 and vaccinations in Southern Nevada. “We are working to ensure that access to the vaccine is available to everyone, especially in some of our neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, and we appreciate Walmart’s partnership in helping us achieve our goal of becoming one of the most vaccinated communities in the country.”
All Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy locations nationwide are now accepting walk-in vaccine appointments, as supply allows, in addition to pre-scheduled appointments. Customers who schedule an appointment in advance can complete pre-vaccination paperwork ahead of time, if interested. Appointments can be made at walmart.com/COVIDvaccine and samsclub.com/covid. Walmart Pharmacies are open seven days a week (Sam’s Club pharmacies are closed on Sunday), and are administering the authorized J&J, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Individuals are not required to be a member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Sam’s Club.
Encouraging Associates to Get Vaccinated
Walmart and Sam’s Club continue to strongly encourage, but not mandate, associates to get vaccinated. To help make vaccination as easy as possible, 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.
Walmart and Sam’s Club will continue to work to increase the accessibility and availability of COVID-19 vaccines nationwide. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine rollout at Walmart and Sam’s Club, please visit corporate.walmart.com/covid-vaccine.