BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart is preparing its pharmacies to receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s approved in the United States, according to a company blog post on Thursday.
The retailer said its more than 5,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies are making sure they have freezers in place, as well as dry ice, to handle any requirements for storing the vaccine.
“With 90% of the American population living within 10 miles of a Walmart, we will play an important part in making sure those who want a vaccine can get one when they are eligible based on their state’s prioritization, especially those in hard to reach parts of the country that have recently been hit hard by the epidemic,” Dr. Tom Van Gilder, Walmart’s chief medical officer, said in the post.
Walmart said it is also preparing to enter into an agreement with states to support vaccinations where needed, “whether that is in our pharmacies or long-term care facilities where the states determine they need our help.”
Additionally, the company is preparing processes to inform people when to receive the first and second dose and to report successful vaccinations, as well as educating its employees about the vaccine, “so when they are determined to be eligible, they will understand and be ready to receive the vaccine if they choose.”
The first vaccines are likely to require two doses, which will need to be separated by 21 or 28 days, and will be available in limited quantities.
A committee of outside experts voted on Thursday on whether the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should authorize the use of the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The panel voted the benefits of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine outweigh the risks in individuals 16 and older. The vaccine is reportedly 95% effective at preventing COVID-19.
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