Walmart and Sam’s Club Pharmacies to administer COVID-19 vaccines through new federal program

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

As a preferred retail pharmacy partner in 22 states, including Missouri, pharmacies at Walmart and Sam’s Club began administering COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 12 Missouri through the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program was recently stated in a press release.

This includes local Thayer Walmart.

Those eligible for vaccination may schedule a vaccine appointment via Walmart and Sam’s Club websites once they are available. This will make it “convenient to get vaccinated while allocation lasts. Vaccines will be available to those who meet the current phase of vaccine eligibility in Missouri, which can be found at the Missouri Department of Health website.”

As of press time on Tuesday, Feb. 16, Missouri is currently vaccinating Phase 1A, Phase 1B – Tier 1 and Phase 1B – Tier 2. This includes long-term care facility residents and staff; healthcare workers (patient facing) and EMS/EMT/paramedics under Phase 1A. Phase 1B Tier – 1 includes first responders and emergency workers such as public health administrators and staff, law enforcement, fire services, corrections, emergency management, public works and emergency services. Phase 1B – Tier 2 focuses on those at an increased risk including anyone 5 and older and adults with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, heart conditions, weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity (BMI > 40), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome.

“More than 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in 22 states are receiving federal vaccine allocations this week, with an emphasis on locations that reach customers in underserved communities with limited access to healthcare. While initial vaccine supply is limited, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists and technicians stand ready to help expand vaccine access across the country,” was stated in the press release.

Population density, customer demographics, infection rates and availability of local healthcare resources were some of the factors used to identify participating locations. This was done by consulting with Center for Disease Control and states. This included medically underserved areas designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration.

“Ninety percent of the country lives within 10 miles of a Walmart. We’re committed to helping people live better – and healthier lives – in Missouri, and we take that role very seriously,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health & Wellness. “We want to help the country re-open, but we can only achieve that through widespread COVID-19 vaccination. We’re proud to work together with the federal government, states, communities, customers and associates to expand access to the vaccine and reach that goal.”

“Walmart is partnering with the CDC and states to move as quickly as possible to help administer vaccines to eligible populations in participating states. For a list of stores in each state administering the vaccine under the federal agreement, visit www.corporate.walmart.com/covid-vaccine

“We welcome the opportunity to work with our federal partners and provide an additional avenue for Missourians to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Governor Mike Parson said. “This partnership will be a great help in expanding vaccine access and getting more doses into arms as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

In conjunction with vaccination efforts with the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program in 22 states, Walmart “is also currently administering vaccinations under the jurisdiction allocation in 11 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico,” was further stated in the press release.

Vaccine supply and eligibility will vary based on state and local guidelines.

“In addition to appointments, the scheduler will provide a digital reminder when it is time to return for the second vaccine, which is why customers are asked to create a profile, helping to ensure customers receive the second dose of the vaccine in the timeframe required. You do not have to be a member of Sam’s Club to sign-up for an appointment. Appointments are available seven days a week, but exact timing will vary based on local availability of the vaccine.

Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies will continue to support states and the federal government to help increase the accessibility and availability of COVID-19 vaccines. To stay up to date on how Walmart and Sam’s Club are supporting the vaccine rollout, visit https://corporate.walmart.com/covid-vaccine,” was stated in the press release.

The State of Missouri announced on Monday, Feb. 15 for vaccinators regarding the status of those seeking vaccines in the state.

“Vaccine supply is slightly increasing, but it is still not yet close to meeting the current demand that exists in our state,”  Governor Mike Parson  said. “State allocations are determined based on population, so it’s important that we use our limited supply each week to vaccinate and protect our Missouri residents.”

Due to many of the state’s metropolitan areas near state borders, there has been the question as to who is eligible to be vaccinated in the state.

More than 873,600 doses of vaccines have been administered to Missourians.

It was further stated in the press release, “Just as other states are prioritizing their own citizens, Missouri’s plan prioritizes the vaccination of Missouri residents first.  Using a self-attestation process, vaccinators should either use the state’s screening form or a similar process asking individuals to self-attest to their status in a prioritized population and verify their residency. 

There are certain exceptions, however. If an employer-based vaccination clinic is arranged, and a Missouri employee lives in a neighboring state, vaccination of this person is allowed. 

Infrequently, for the sole purpose of preventing a dose being wasted, it may be necessary to vaccinate a person who is ineligible and has not been determined to have a unique clinical situation that warrants an immediate vaccination. In no case should a vaccinator waste a dose.   

To view the residency guidance for vaccinators, please see attachment. For additional guidance and resources, please visit  MOStopsCOVID.com/vaccinators.  Vaccinators found to not be in compliance with Missouri’s vaccination plan may be penalized and risk losing future vaccine allocations.”

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