- Walmart this month said that it plans to carry the coronavirus vaccine at 5,000 of its store locations across the U.S.
- 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart, which should hopefully make it easy for most Americans to get vaccinated in 2021.
- According to Dr. Fauci, upwards of 80% of Americans will need the coronavirus vaccine to achieve herd immunity.
With the coronavirus surging at an unprecedented rate throughout December, vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna came around just in time. During clinical trials, both vaccines proved to be 94.5% effective at preventing a coronavirus infection and, just as important, side effects associated with the vaccines were found to be rare. And in instances where side effects did manifest in volunteers, the symptoms were relatively mild and tended to go away within 24 hours.
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the leading infectious disease specialists in the country, an estimated 80% of Americans will need to take a coronavirus vaccine to achieve herd immunity and firmly put the pandemic behind us. Suffice it to say, it’s imperative that the coronavirus vaccine be as accessible as can be in order to encourage a critical mass of Americans to take it.
In light of that, Walmart this month announced that it plans to carry the vaccine at more than 5,000 of its Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies. What’s more, Walmart Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Van Gilder said that the company plans to acquire the requisite type of freezers needed to store Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. Recall that Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine needs to be stored between -112°F and -76°F to retain its efficacy over a sustained period of time, which is to say six months. When stored in a typical hospital refrigeration unit, Pfizer notes that its vaccine will remain viable for five days.
Other steps Walmart is taking to facilitate the administration of the coronavirus vaccine include:
- Entering into agreements with states to be able to support vaccinations where needed, whether that is in our pharmacies or long-term care facilities where the states determine they need our help
- Putting in place processes to inform people of when to receive the first and second doses and to report successful vaccinations
- Educating our associates about the vaccine, so when they are determined to be eligible, they will understand and be ready to receive the vaccine if they choose
Walmart’s efforts in this regard are incredibly encouraging, especially given that 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart.
Other company’s that plan to carry the coronavirus vaccine include Costco, Meijer, Publix, Kroger, Wegmans, and Winn-Dixie.
Until herd immunity is achieved, Dr. Fauci has repeatedly stressed the importance of adhering to coronavirus safety guidelines. Not only does this mean vigilant mask-wearing and social distancing, but also holding off on indoor gatherings and unnecessary travel. In a best-case scenario, Fauci said life in the U.S. could return to normal by the summer of next year.