PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Walmart is taking a different approach for COVID-19 vaccinations.
The retailer will hold vaccination clinics exclusively off-site in Virginia and not in its stores, unlike CVS, Walgreens, etc. (though these pharmacies are working to have off-site community vaccination events in addition to in-store vaccinations).
In Virginia, Walgreens, The Kroger Co., Albertsons Companies Inc. (Safeway), Retail Business Services LLC (Food Lion, Giant Food), Topco Associates LLC (Food City), and CPESN LLC, a network of multiple independent community pharmacies, were also set this week to get a portion of the 26,000 new weekly doses coming in through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
CVS had been getting 26,000 doses per week alone, but the Biden administration recently doubled the national allotment to the program from 1 to 2 million doses. The 52,000 total doses now coming to Virginia via the federal program are in addition to the roughly 160,000 given to Virginia for local health departments and other providers (Virginia has been getting about 130,000 first doses per week).
The Virginia Department of Health said Wednesday in a press release that clinics through Walmart will be held on a rotating basis in areas around the state. Walmart has yet to announce specific events at this time, but VDH says the recently-opened Vaccinate Virginia call center will make calls to those on Virginia’s vaccine pre-registration list to schedule those appointments. They’ll also do that for those getting vaccines at Giant supermarkets.
Vaccines at the other pharmacy locations (about 140 statewide) will be determined each week in an effort to focus on high-risk and vulnerable communities, VDH says. Most will be in stores.
In Wednesday’s coronavirus press conference with Gov. Ralph Northam, Virginia vaccination coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said that work is still underway to get pharmacies to work off the pre-registration list.
So far, vaccinations at CVS, Walgreens, etc. have gone to those who’ve been lucky to get on the pharmacies’ websites at the right time when slots are available. Those trying to get a vaccine at these pharmacies should continue to check the websites.