Today, Walmart is proud to release our One-Year Vaccine report that outlines our all-hands-on-deck approach to fighting the pandemic and keeping our communities safe and healthy. Over the past year, our approach has focused on meeting people where they are and proving that all health care is local.
With 90% of the population located within 10 miles of a Walmart, and 150 million customers passing through our doors each week, Walmart is in a unique position to provide quality, affordable health and wellness services to all Americans where they already live and shop. So, when the COVID-19 pandemic called for us to rise to a new challenge, we were already in our local communities, had relationships with thousands of customers and were able to be a trusted voice in the community and meet our customers and patients where they live and work throughout the pandemic.
Over the past year, Walmart has administered tens of millions of vaccines across the country, with 80% being delivered in medically underserved communities as classified by the HRSA.
Our first patient vaccination was administered on December 21, 2020, and within eight weeks, more than 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies began administering COVID-19 vaccines in 22 states through the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Our efforts have since grown to encompass 51 states and territories and more than 5,100 retail locations in the U.S., making access as easy as possible for those who want to get vaccinated.
What we have learned through vaccine administration is how important local, authentic voices are and how important trust, convenience and ease is in delivering health care. Among the actions we’ve taken:
- Created many useful tools to make vaccination information and appointments more broadly accessible to all communities, including those that are underserved and particularly vulnerable. A few examples include the Walmart.com and Samsclub.com online scheduler that is available in English and Spanish and CVENT phone scheduling tool that provides access to those without consistent access to internet.
- Initiated partnerships with many local organizations including school districts, community organizations, long term care facilities and more to reach underserved and rural communities and other eligible populations with education and vaccination opportunities.
- Increased vaccination access with a “Get Out the Vaccine” plan, modeled after “Get Out the Vote” that employed grassroots and community partnerships, corporate partners, internal operations, media and others with the goal of sharing information and helping people make an informed choice about getting vaccinated.
- Identified voices with credibility and trust with diverse populations throughout the country, including medical professionals, to share the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
We know this approach works in overcoming vaccine reluctance and making inroads into keeping our communities healthy. A report by the Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI) showed that Walmart was successful in reaching more vaccine reluctant communities with a targeted, local and trusted approach. We hope by sharing what worked for us and our communities, we will be able to affect public health in rural and underserved areas, which will lead to better health outcomes in these communities.
None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of our associates - they are our most important assets in tackling the challenges of the past two years and making lasting connections in our communities. The knowledge and experience we gained over the past year have been invaluable, and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers and ensure they have access to the health resources they need – whether it’s a broad range of immunizations, affordable diabetes resources, fresh food or vision and health screenings – to live better and healthier lives.