Need to Know
- Walmart, which already offers vaccinations in two states, will expand to another seven states, plus Chicago and Puerto Rico, over the next two weeks.
- Amazon is planning to open a pop-up vaccine clinic in Seattle, which aims to administer 2,000 vaccinations in one day.
- Both Amazon and Walmart clinics will be offering vaccines to specific population groups, as determined by each state.
Walmart and Amazon have both ramped up their respective COVID-19 vaccine administration efforts, with both major retailers offering clinics to eligible populations.
Walmart already offers vaccinations at select stores in New Mexico and Arkansas and will be expanding its clinics to New Jersey, Georgia, Indiana Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas, as well as Chicago and Puerto Rico, over the next two weeks. Amazon, meanwhile, is opening a one-day pop-up clinic at its Seattle headquarters on January 24, where it aims to administer 2,000 vaccinations.
“The truth is, COVID-19 has been a tragedy for the country, for the world and for Washington,” Amazon spokesperson, Jay Carney, said in a news conference announcing the vaccine rollout. “We’re eager to help save lives here in our home state, to rebuild the economy with you and turn the page on COVID as quickly as we can.”
Amazon’s announcement of its vaccine clinic comes two days after CEO Dave Clark issued an open letter appealing to new US president Joe Biden to offer to assist with vaccine rollout. The clinic will be launched in partnership with the Virginia Mason Medical Center and is part of the Washington State Vaccine Command and Coordination Center, a partnership between the state and several other companies, with the goal of increasing the rate at which coronavirus vaccinations are administered.
The company has been appealing to US officials to allow its front-line workers to have priority access to the coronavirus vaccine, with Clark noting that Amazon’s employees have played a vital role in allowing customers to receive vital products at home throughout the pandemic. “Since the beginning of this crisis, we have worked hard to keep our workers safe,” Clark wrote in the letter. “We are committed to assisting your administration’s vaccination efforts as we work together to protect our employees and continue to provide essential services during the pandemic.”
Walmart, meanwhile, has been administering vaccinations at locations in New Mexico and Arkansas since December 2020. It will expand its clinics to New Jersey, Georgia, Indiana Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas, as well as Chicago and Puerto Rico, in the coming weeks. Like Amazon, Walmart is giving COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible populations as determined by each state’s legislators.
Both Amazon and Walmart may prove key players in the vaccine rollout, which has been slow to date, as the two companies have invested substantial resources in their healthcare infrastructure in recent months. Walmart has been working to ramp up its healthcare facilities throughout the pandemic, having acquired important technology assets from CareZone in June, which will allow customers to better manage their prescriptions online and understand their insurance coverage. At the time, Walmart revealed that it had purchased the technology platform, patents, and key intellectual property of CareZone and that 25 to 30 members of CareZone’s team would be joining Walmart to manage those assets. The retailer also expanded its drone delivery program to begin delivery of health and wellness products to customers in Arkansas in September.
Amazon, meanwhile, debuted Amazon Care in February, which provides telehealth solutions to Amazon employees in Seattle, and introduced Amazon Pharmacy, its own online and mobile prescription ordering and fulfillment service, late last year.