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Walmart, Sam's Club begin administering Covid-19 vaccines through Federal Retail Pharmacy Program

Doses are limited for now, but Friday marks the nation's largest retailer's foray into getting Covid-19 vaccines into the arms of Americans through a federal program

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies will start administering Covid-19 vaccines on Friday (Feb. 12) through the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. 

Over 1,000 Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies in 22 states will receive vaccines this week in part with the federal vaccine allocations. In addition to those 22 states, Walmart and Sam’s Club is currently administering vaccinations under the state allocation in 11 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 

In Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, Tennessee and Wyoming, Walmart will be the only preferred pharmacy partner through the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

Walmart says they are emphasizing getting vaccines to locations in underserved communities with limited access to health care. 

Walmart worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine which areas would get the first doses of vaccines through their pharmacies based on population density, customer demographics, infection rates, and local health care resources availability. The company also looked at pharmacies located in 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 at the heart of many rural and underserved communities, and we are committed to providing access to vaccines as groups become eligible,” Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health & Wellness, said. “Vaccinations to achieve widespread immunity are important for re-opening across the country. We’re proud to work together with the federal government, states, communities, customers and associates to reach that goal.”

Vaccine supply and eligibility will vary based on allocation as well as state and local guidelines, Walmart says. The number of vaccinations is expected to increase each week.

RELATED: US to have enough vaccine for 300 million Americans by summer, Biden announces

Eligible participants can schedule an appointment to get a vaccine on the Walmart and Sam's Club websites once appointments are available. A Sam's Club membership is not required to obtain a vaccination. 

Those who get their first dose of the vaccine through the company's pharmacies will receive a digital reminder when it is time to return for the second vaccine. 

Walmart says it will continue to work with other providers to expand access to offsite vaccination clinics for people who may have difficulty accessing in-store clinics. 

RELATED: CDC: Fully vaccinated people don't need to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure