Seniors 65 and older will soon be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine at select Walmart, Sam’s Club, Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más and Harveys stores in Florida.
The federal government is preparing to ship a million doses to national and regional pharmacy chains across the country as part of a federal pharmacy program. The program, rolling out across the country next week, has listed Walmart Inc. and Southeastern Grocers as pharmacies in Florida set to receive vaccines soon. Sam’s Club is a division of Walmart and Southeastern Grocers is the parent company of Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más and Harveys.
CVS and Walgreens pharmacies won’t have vaccines available in Florida yet.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it worked with each state to determine which pharmacy partners would be activated first during the program’s rollout. Pharmacies were selected based on factors that include the number of stores available in the state and the ability to reach people considered to be most at risk for severe COVID-19 complications.
When will Walmart, Sam’s Club, Winn-Dixie and Fresco y Más have COVID-19 vaccines in Florida?Select Winn-Dixie stores in Florida will get COVID-19 vaccines next week.
Walmart, which is already distributing vaccines in more than a dozen states, says it will begin administering vaccines in its stores and Sam’s Club locations in Florida as soon as it receives shipments from the federal government. As for Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, the company told Spectrum Bay News 9 that vaccines will be available at select Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más and Harveys supermarket stores in Florida starting Thursday, the first official day of the program.
No one will have to pay for the vaccine because taxpayers are footing the bill. The companies can charge an administration fee for giving someone the shot but it will be reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company. For uninsured patients, the fee will be paid for by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
Walmart declined to detail which of its stores and Sam Club’s locations will get the vaccines in Florida, but said it’s expecting to release a full list of locations with appointment scheduling instructions in coming weeks. Southeastern Grocers did not immediately respond to Miami Herald’s inquiry, including questions on which stores will get vaccines and if any will be located in South Florida.
Once vaccines become available at Walmart, Winn-Dixie and their sister companies, seniors and qualifying healthcare workers will have to book a slot through an online portal.
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None of the portals have appointments available in Florida yet. The type of vaccine the stores will have in stock hasn’t been announced, although it appears to be Moderna’s. It requires two doses, 28 days apart, and can be kept in a regular freezer. It’s also the vaccine the federal government is giving to pharmacies during this initial rollout although other vaccines may be added as the program expands, according to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
Another pharmacy listed in the program is Publix, which has already been administering Moderna vaccines to eligible Florida residents at more than 200 stores across the state. Vaccines have not been available at Publix stores in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
When asked about the future of vaccine availability at Miami-Dade and Broward stores, Publix spokeswoman Maria Brous said it would be “premature” to comment on the company’s plans. She said Publix is still waiting on additional details, including how many doses the company is expected to receive from the incoming shipment.
The federal government allocated the vaccines under the pharmacy program based on the population of each state and jurisdiction, just like it has done for other vaccine distribution providers, according to the New York Times. The CDC said that the companies enrolled in the federal pharmacy program will eventually have vaccines available in every state where they have stores and long-term care pharmacy locations.
McClatchy News staff writer Katie Camero contributed to this report.