WINSTON COUNTY - Walmart Pharmacy at the Haleyville store is among the locations of Walmarts which began administering the COVID-19 vaccines on Friday, Feb. 12.
The addition of Walmart pharmacies to the COVID-19 vaccination program is made possible thanks to supplies of the vaccine being sent to them from the Federal Pharmacy Program or allocated from state supply, according to questions related to the giving of the COVID-19 vaccine at Walmart or Sam’s Club locations.
This means that Walmart pharmacies are receiving their vaccines from a different source that other local and area providers, which are receiving their shipments solely from the state.
Some of these local providers have run out of the vaccine and are at the mercy of the state as to when they will receive additional shipments.
Walmart customers or the general public needing to get a COVID-19 vaccines are also having difficulty finding available dates to receive the vaccine, when following Walmart’s online format of scheduling an appointment.
Vaccinations at available Walmart and Sam’s Club locations can be made through the online scheduler.
Appointment availability is based on current allocation, so appointments will be limited based on quantities allocated by federal and state governments, according to information listed online about the vaccines available at Walmart and Sam’s Club.
In order to schedule a vaccine, Walmart’s scheduler can be found by visiting Walmart.com/covidvaccine or SamsClub.com/covid.
When calling a particular Walmart location, the caller will be advised to dial 1 to see if that location is offering the vaccine.
When going through the process, it was confirmed by voice recording that Walmart Pharmacy in Haleyville is administering the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, no vaccine appointments can be made by phone, only by the provided websites, the recording states.
The caller was given the option to speak with a representative to explain the process of how to set up an appointment.
The person must go online to the addresses given in order to register. If they do not have a Walmart account, they will need to set up an account.
To the left of the screen once the online site has been accessed, the person can click on three lines to the left on the screen.
Click on Pharmacy Health and Personal Care then click on Immunizations followed by clicking on Schedule Now. This will lead to an area where the customer must sign into their Walmart account or create an account.
After logging in to the account, the customer then clicks on availability then select or reserve a time slot to receive the vaccine.
This is where customers are having difficulty scheduling the vaccine. Once they get to select dates, they find the same message No Availability on dates stretching to the end of this week.
When a customer does arrive at Walmart to receive their vaccination, they must check in and show identification.
The person then must show a pharmacy card or insurance card. The appropriate consent and eligibility forms must be signed. A person must check with the Alabama Department of Health to determine if they are eligible to receive the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control noted that once the person receives the vaccine, he or she must wait 15 minutes to be evaluated, in order to see if there is an allergic reaction.
The person will then receive their proof of vaccination card.
When asked if the distribution of vaccines to Walmart pharmacies would affect the distribution of the vaccine at other healthcare providers, officials noted that answer was like comparing apples to oranges.
The Walmart pharmacies are receiving vaccines through the Federal Pharmacy Program, so that will not affect the state’s allotment of the vaccine to other providers, a state health department official stated.
“It will not have any effect whatsoever on them. That’s federal allocation, completely separate from what the state of Alabama gets,” pointed out Michael Glenn, assistant administrator for the northern district of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
“That will be just another provider providing vaccines,” he added. “It’s just a good thing for the state.”
“We advocate anybody to get (the vaccines),” noted David Jones, director of the Capstone Rural Health Clinic. “Any doctor’s office or other office and we’ll assist them in any way we can.
“However we can get (the vaccines) out, we get them out,” Jones added. “I am not in a place to argue who gets what.
“We’re just advocating to get more out for public awareness, to get it when they can,” Jones added. “Anything we can do to decrease the peak (of the virus) again.
“The more we can get this (vaccine) out and get into bodies, the less this thing has to be rampant and mutate,” Jones pointed out.
Ashley Pool, CEO of Lakeland Community Hospital, another provider of the Moderna vaccine, noted the end goal was to get shots in arms.
“How we do that needs to make sense in each community,” Pool stated. “If Walmart can provide that service effectively and efficiently to our community, we are in complete support of that.
“I want the state to know that Lakeland Community Hospital is more than willing to serve our community to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible,” Pool pointed out.
“If we can be a part of that solution, we stand ready,” she concluded.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.