Retail giant Walmart said it is ready to administer booster shots this fall following the recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the coming weeks. It has we’ve expanded its vaccinations to include third doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised individuals, along with its low-cost flu shots.
Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies across the U.S. have been administering COVID-19 vaccines since the vaccination drive began in the U.S. in early 2021. It has also been working to support and care for its communities during the pandemic.
Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies are currently administering third doses to immunocompromised individuals. However, it will only begin administering the booster shots to eligible fully vaccinated Americans once recommendations have been issued by the CDC and FDA.
The third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is of two different types, an additional vaccine dose and a booster shot.
An additional vaccine dose is intended to increase the immune response in immunocompromised individuals who are less able to fight infections and are more vulnerable to infections like the COVID-19 virus.
The Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, which both require two shots, are the only vaccines authorized at this time to be administered as a third dose to people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
Meanwhile, a booster shot is a dose of vaccine administered when the initial immune response has begun to fade. This booster dose is most likely to be recommended by medical experts as the next stage to fight COVID-19 infections by prolonging the protections and maximizing the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The medical experts’ recommendation is based on data that shows waning immunity around six to eight months after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. However, the booster doses of the J&J vaccine are expected in the next few weeks as more data is needed to recommend it.
Walmart is already working through its non-profit, community-based and state and local government partnerships to improve access to the vaccine. It has conducted more than 600 community vaccine clinics to date in partnership with local organizations, to help us reach communities and get more shots in arms, especially for those most vulnerable and at risk.
According to the CDC, nearly 203 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 171 million are fully vaccinated.
In late May, Walmart teamed up with school districts to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to adolescents through the Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies just in time for summer. The shots were provided with the recently authorized Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 12 to 15 at school-based vaccine clinics.
Walmart is partnering with the CDC and states to move as quickly as possible to help administer vaccines to eligible populations in participating states through Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs under the U.S. Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
The retailer is in a position to safely and easily reach customers as about 150 million customers are already shopping for household and health care essentials at their stores. It is already at the heart of many rural and underserved communities as ninety percent of the country lives within 10 miles of a Walmart store.
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