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01/22/2021

Major retailers continue push for COVID-19 vaccination

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon, Walmart, and Walgreens are all taking an active role in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Amazon, which has offered to provide the Biden administration with operational and technical support for COVID-19 vaccination efforts, will open its Seattle campus to host a pop-up clinic aimed at vaccinating the public against COVID-19. In addition to offering the vaccine clinic, in partnership with Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Amazon says it is also ready to perform in-house vaccinations of the tens of thousands of Amazon employees doing frontline jobs throughout Washington State.

With the Amazon vaccine clinic, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health aims to vaccinate 2,000 people on its first day, and partner with Amazon to identify future pop up clinic opportunities. The Jan. 24 clinic will take place at Amazon's downtown Seattle campus, and is open to Washingtonians who currently qualify to be vaccinated under the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Phases guidelines. 

Throughout 2020, Amazon partnered with the previous presidential administration to respond to COVID-19, including working with the State Department to collect personal protective equipment from China when American doctors had none, building new tools for researchers and public health authorities, and advising the U.S. government on testing.

Walmart plans to offer the COVID-19 vaccine seven days a week at its pharmacies, through planned in-store vaccination clinics and through large community events. The discounter administered its first vaccines, to health care workers in New Mexico, in late December. 

In addition, Walmart has prepared more than 5,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies to receive the vaccine doses, built a new digital scheduling tool to make appointments easy, and partnered with state and federal agencies as it awaits allocations. At full capacity, Walmart expects to be able to deliver 10-13 million doses per month when supply and allocations allow.

Walmart will focus on two key areas to help ensure Americans have access to the COVID-19 vaccine: “Health care deserts,” mostly rural locations where there are very few options for customers to find health care and where Walmart has nearly 4,000 stores that are positioned within one or more of the federally designated medically underserved areas or where there are limited pharmacy options; and underserved communities. The retailer plans to partner with community organizations to provide vaccination services at third-party locations like churches, stadiums and youth centers.

Walgreens, which began administering COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program on Dec. 21 and has continued to expand vaccine efforts according to state and jurisdiction distribution plans, has administered more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccinations. The drugstore retailer has been focusing its efforts across long-term care facilities and other vulnerable populations identified as part of state and jurisdiction distribution plans. The company also remains on track to complete the administration of COVID-19 vaccine first doses in skilled nursing facilities by Monday, Jan. 25.