Problems have arisen in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in Florida, after Walmart explained that they will still honor appointments made, despite Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “Seniors First” vaccination plan. Earlier in the week, Florida had stated that vaccines would be available in 119 Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations throughout the state, prioritizing those who are 65 years old and older, along with long-term care facility residents and staff and healthcare workers who have direct contact with patients.
However, according to Walmart’s scheduling website, Florida residents deemed to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers were allowed to register. According to CDC guidelines, eligibility includes cancer, chronic kidney disease, obesity, and heart conditions. And DeSantis had explained that only hospital providers were the ones who could vaccinate those extremely vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Florida Expanding COVID-19 vaccinations to Walmart Pharmacies
A Walmart spokesperson had told CNN that Walmart will honor the vaccination appointments, despite the error, and that the error came from creating their scheduling program from a default from the Department of Health website, adding, “Walmart is working to align our scheduling system with the specific populations the state has asked us to vaccinate under the federal retail pharmacy partnership. We are honoring all appointments that have been made to-date in all categories listed in the Executive Order.”
They were, apparently, unaware of how many Floridians registered for coronavirus vaccine appointments.
Last week, under the Biden administration, the federal government would roll out one million allocations of the vaccine to retailers, going to 6,500 stores as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The vaccine doses are separate from the ones the federal government plans to send to each state, though they will still fall under each state’s eligibility guidelines.
According to the National Association of Drug Stores, the goal is to administer 100 million doses within 30 days, but of course, retailers such as Sam’s Club pharmacies, Publix, Harveys, and more will need enough of the first and second doses to do so. Steven Anderson, the NACDS president, and CEO, says, “Ultimately NACDS member pharmacies can meet and exceed the 100 million vaccinations in a month threshold, yet it’s important to understand that the supply of vaccines remains the rate-limiting factor in the vaccination effort.”
For more information on whether you should be hitting up your local Walmart or Sam’s Club store, you can check out walmart.com/covidvaccine or samsclub.com/covid. You can also read up on whether you should receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine here.