Dec. 23, 2020
By Dr. Tom Van Gilder, Chief Medical Officer, Walmart
The news at the end of this horrible year continues to improve! We now have a second promising vaccine to begin distributing. As I mentioned in my blog post on Dec. 10, Walmart is prepared to administer the COVID-19 vaccine at our pharmacies nationwide when we are asked to do so. Let me tell you a bit more about how we’re supporting the vaccination of health care workers in “Priority 1A” at the request of states.
We’re administering the recently approved Moderna vaccine to health care workers at select Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs in the state of New Mexico. The New Mexico Department of Health carefully chose store locations to help ensure that the vaccine is safely administered in rural areas that need help supporting vaccine distribution to health care workers.
Because our pharmacists will be on the front lines of administering these vaccines, we are offering our first doses to them. The first Walmart pharmacist to receive a vaccine in one of our facilities was pharmacy clinical service manager Alexis Abbatantuono, a 13-year associate, and she is excited to support her community. We know the vital role our stores, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians will play in the immunization of communities across the country, so keeping them healthy and safe is a critical first link in the chain of wide vaccine distribution.
We’re so thankful to our pharmacists and health care workers who’ve been working tirelessly to serve the health care needs of their communities, and we’re so proud of our other front-line workers who’ve kept our communities supplied with food and other necessities.
We’re in discussions with other states to support their vaccine administration efforts, and we will share those details as they become available. We’re also preparing our 5,000+ pharmacies at Sam’s Clubs and Walmart stores to be ready when the time comes to administer to essential workers, first responders and older Americans in “Priority 1B” and “Priority 1C,” based on the recent recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
We will also be prepared for all Americans to receive the vaccine in the spring and summer when the broad rollout happens. In the meantime, we will continue to protect ourselves and each other by wearing a face covering, maintaining social distance and practicing recommended hygiene practices.
Walmart is a center of health and well-being for millions of Americans across the country, and administering COVID-19 vaccines is another way we’re making health care accessible for the communities we serve and support.
Happy holidays to all, and may we all find peace, happiness and health in the new year.