Two western Kansas Walmart locations will administer COVID-19 vaccines Friday through the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
The locations in Hays and Colby will join 18 other locations in Kansas and more than 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in 22 states that will receive federal vaccine allocations this week, according to a statement from Walmart on Tuesday.
The company said the program has an emphasis on locations that reach customers in underserved communities with limited access to health care.
"While initial vaccine supply is limited, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists and technicians stand ready to help expand vaccine access across the country," the statement said. "With 150 million customers and members passing through our doors each week, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists can safely and easily reach customers where they’re already shopping for household and health care essentials."
Vaccinations will be made available to those meeting state of Kansas phased eligibility requirements — currently those 65 and older.
Walmart selected the locations in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state of Kansas to take into account the population density, customer demographics, infection rates and availability of local health care resources among other factors to identify many of the participating locations, the announcement said.
“Ninety percent of the country lives within 10 miles of a Walmart," said Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of health and wellness. "We’re at the heart of many rural and underserved communities, and we are committed to providing access to vaccines as groups become eligible. 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.”
The number of vaccines to be given out at the locations will vary based upon supply and state regulations governing the distribution.
Those that are eligible to receive the vaccine can schedule a vaccine appointment directly via the Walmart website, although that system was unavailable on Wednesday, reporting technical issues.
The online scheduler will ask users to create an account in order to be sent a reminder for the second dose.