BENTONVILLE, Ark. - Walmart has partnered with school districts across several U.S. states to bring COVID-19 vaccine clinics to students at their schools.
The retail giant announced Thursday that its pharmacies in both Walmart and Sam’s Club stores have worked with local districts to set up Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinics in "dozens of communities" throughout Georgia, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania.
Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine is currently the only COVID-19 vaccine given an emergency use authorization for those under 18. The Food and Drug Administration expanded its approval for children as young as 12 earlier this month.
"We’ve administered thousands of vaccines to date through these efforts and are planning to partner with additional educators to bring our clinics to even more students and families in the coming weeks," the company said in a statement.
Walmart, which is also part of the federal government’s retail pharmacy program helping to administer and increase access to the vaccines, said the clinics provide "a familiar setting for adolescents to get vaccinated at their school."
The clinics are operated by Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy staff, the company said.
FILE - A Walmart mobile wellness facility was on hand to administer COVID-19 vaccines during qualifying for the Southern Nationals Final Event on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at the Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sport
Del Sloneker, Walmart U.S. Health and Wellness’ senior vice president and COO, said vaccine clinics in schools require "some complex logistics navigation."
"From bringing cold storage units onsite to safely transport the vaccines, to implementing a system to collect parental consent, to training our pharmacists to address vaccine hesitancy, we are working hard to make it safe, convenient and easy for people to get protected against COVID-19," Sloneker said in the statement.
Walmart also recently announced that pharmacy locations nationwide now administer COVID-19 vaccines without the need for an appointment, authorized to administer the shots developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson in the U.S. Vaccine recipients also do not have to be a member of Sam’s Club to get the shot.
Moderna said earlier this week that its two-dose vaccine also strongly protects kids as young as 12 based on a study of more than 3,700 12- to 17-year-olds. The company said it will submit its teen data to the FDA in early June.
To date, nearly 62% of American adults have gotten at least one dose — and 50% of the adult population is fully vaccinated, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With plenty of vaccine supply in the U.S., younger teens flocked to get Pfizer's shot in the days after FDA opened it to them, part of a push to get as many kids vaccinated as possible before the next school year.
While children are far less likely than adults to get seriously ill from COVID-19, they represent about 14% of the nation’s coronavirus cases. At least 316 have died in the U.S. alone, according to a tally by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Both Pfizer and Moderna have also begun testing in even younger children, from age 11 down to 6-month-old babies. This testing is more complex: Teens receive the same dose as adults, but researchers are testing smaller doses in younger children. Experts hope to see some results in the fall.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.