UTAH (ABC4) – A handful of Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines in Utah.

Vaccinations will begin on Friday, February 12. Eligible customers who meet Utah’s current vaccination phase – 70-years-old and older, healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents and staff, first responders, and K-12 school teachers and staff – can schedule an appointment via Walmart and Sam’s Club websites once appointments are available.

At first, only 18 of Walmart’s 50 Utah-based stores will offer vaccination appointments. Once a larger supply of vaccines become available, Walmart says it plans to add additional pharmacies to the program.

More than 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in 22 states are receiving COVID-19 vaccine allocations as part of a federal partnership between the government and numerous pharmacies like Walgreens, CVS, and Smith’s Food & Drug.

Walmart says its pharmacies, in consultation with the CDC and state officials, “took into account the population density, customer demographics, infection rates and availability of local healthcare resources among other factors to identify many of the participating locations, including pharmacies located in a Medically Underserved Areas, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration.”

Advocates for the states vulnerable population say these resources are a step in the right direction.

“Adding additional access points into the system such as Walmart, Smiths or other locations really just increases the ability for underserved populations to access the vaccine,” CEO Janida Emerson Fourth Street Clinic said.  “We do have a large number of individuals who are considered to have limited health care access because they are not located in neighborhoods where they are located, or they do not have access to affordable health insurance”.

According to the State, back in 2019, 277,300 or 8.6% of Utahns did not have health care coverage.

 “We really want to advocate for vaccine prioritization list that includes vulnerable populations,” Emerson said.  

“Ninety percent of the country lives within ten miles of a Walmart. We’re committed to helping people live better – and healthier lives – and we take that role very seriously,” says Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Executive Vice President, Health & Wellness. “We want to help the country re-open, but we can only achieve that through widespread COVID-19 vaccination. We’re proud to work together with the federal government, states, communities, customers, and associates to expand access to the vaccine and reach that goal.” 

Here is a look at the Utah locations initially offering appointments to get the COVID-19 vaccine:

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Vaccine supply and eligibility will vary based on state and local guidelines. In addition to appointments, the scheduler will provide a digital reminder when it is time to return for the second dose of the vaccine. You do not have to be a member of Sam’s Club to sign up for an appointment at its pharmacies.

Walmart says appointments are available seven days a week, but the exact timing will vary based on the local availability of the vaccine.