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Walmart (WMT), the world's largest retailer, said it’s preparing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s approved in the U.S.
“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,” Walmart’s chief medical officer Dr. Tom Van Gilder wrote in a blog post.
Walmart operates a fleet of more than 4,700 stores and around 600 Sam’s Club locations in the U.S, with more than 5,000 pharmacies.
Van Gilder pointed out that the federal government will allocate the vaccine to states and the states will determine the eligible recipients for the first doses.
“Walmart will not have any say in who can receive the vaccine, but we are ready to support states once they do,” Van Gilder wrote.
The retailer’s medical chief noted that Walmart’s pharmacies are preparing to receive the doses by making sure there are ample freezers and dry ice for storing the vaccine. The company is also working with states to provide support for administering the vaccine, including at its pharmacies or in long-term care facilities if needed.
The company has also put together materials to inform people about when to receive the first and second doses for the most effective vaccination. Walmart, also the nation’s largest private employer, is also educating its 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.”
Last month, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department announced partnerships with more than a dozen chain pharmacies, including Walmart, Kroger (KR), Rite Aid (RAD), Albertsons Companies (ACI), and others, to provide access to the vaccine once ready.
Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.