By NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN
Walmart is rolling out the Covid-19 vaccine in more states as the Biden administration tries to accelerate distribution.
The company has been administering vaccines in recent weeks in some of its locations in New Mexico and Arkansas. Now, Walmart, the largest retailer in the nation, will roll out the vaccine to select stores in New Jersey, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas, as well as in Chicago, and Puerto Rico, a company spokesperson said in an email Friday.
Each state determines which population groups are eligible to receive the vaccine, and the vaccine will only be available to those designated groups at Walmart pharmacies. In Georgia, for example, adults ages 65 and over are currently eligible, but non-healthcare essential workers are not.
“We are going by what the state tells us in terms of priority groups they want our help vaccinating,” a Walmart spokesperson said.
The news, which was first reported by Reuters, comes as President Joe Biden and his administration seek to accelerate vaccine distribution. So far, more than 17 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to the latest CDC data. Biden has announced a goal of administering 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office.
Pharmacies and grocery stores are expected to play a major role in vaccine distribution. The federal government has a partnership program with 19 pharmacy chains, retailers and pharmacy associations across the United States, representing more than 40% of U.S pharmacy locations.
Walmart said in a blog post Friday that it expects to be able to administer 10 million to 13 million doses per month, “when supply and allocations allow,” across its more than 5,000 pharmacies in the United States and Puerto Rico.
Other chains have also given targets. CVS has said it eventually expects to be able to administer as many as 20 million to 25 million shots per month.