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Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in the Carolinas are now accepting walk-in visits for COVID-19 vaccines, stores said Tuesday.
COVID-19 vaccines are now available at all more than 5,100 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies nationwide, including 214 in North Carolina and 120 in South Carolina.
“Large-scale vaccination is the only way to end the pandemic and help our country reopen,” Walmart executive vice president of health and wellness Dr. Cheryl Pegus said in a statement.
Walmart pharmacies are open seven days a week and Sam’s Club pharmacies are open Monday through Saturday. Pharmacies administer Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for 16 and 17 year olds. Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines are authorized for anyone 18 years of age or older.
Appointments are still accepted at Sam’s Club and Walmart locations, and can be made online at walmart.com/COVIDvaccine and samsclub.com/covid.
Walmart and Sam’s Club is offering incentives for employees to “strongly encourage” getting the COVID-19 vaccine, including offering appointments, allowing employees to be vaccinated during their shifts, and granting two hours of paid time to obtain the vaccine.
Vaccine suppliers across North Carolina and the Charlotte area have started to widely accept walk-in visits for COVID-19 vaccines in recent weeks.
This includes Mecklenburg County Public Health, Atrium Health, and Novant Health.
In Mecklenburg, 30.9% of the county’s residents are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to data from the State Department of Health and Human Services. And 40.7% of the county’s residents are at least partially vaccinated.
But Mecklenburg County is still a long way from achieving collective immunity, according to local health experts.
And it would be a “big job” to get two-thirds of adults in North Carolina vaccinated by June 1, Gibbie Harris, Mecklenburg County director of public health, said last week.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has said the state may be able to lift all mask warrants once at least two-thirds of adults get their first shot.
And the herd’s immunity would be even higher, requiring 75% or 80% of the population to be vaccinated, Novant Health expert Dr David Priest said on Tuesday.
The state may not achieve collective immunity, he said. That’s why it’s so important to make the vaccination as easy as possible, Priest said.