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Portal mistake allows high-risk people younger than 65 vaccine appointment at Walmart, Sam’s Club

Walmart and Sam's will give shots to seniors starting today. While Walmart opens another round of vaccine appointments, the Walmart Spokesperson says the scheduling system is experiencing technical difficulties following a surge of appointments. However, this does not impact the appointments scheduled for today. All appointments are booked up and no walk-ins are allowed.
Walmart and Sam's will give shots to seniors starting today. While Walmart opens another round of vaccine appointments, the Walmart Spokesperson says the scheduling system is experiencing technical difficulties following a surge of appointments. However, this does not impact the appointments scheduled for today. All appointments are booked up and no walk-ins are allowed.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – 18 Walmart and Sam’s Club stores in Jacksonville will begin administering doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to shoppers on Friday morning.

Governor Ron DeSantis said 119 Walmart stores across 34 Florida counties that will offer the shot to seniors.

There was a mix-up with Walmart bookings earlier this week. The company mistakenly allowed Floridians with comorbidities, but under 65 to make appointments. Walmart plans to honor those appointments but will have restrictions in place going forward.

The company released this statement after the scheduling mix-up: “Walmart is working to align our scheduling system with the specific populations the state has asked us to vaccinate under the federal retail pharmacy partnership. We are honoring all appointments that have been made to-date in all categories listed in the Executive Order.”

Currently, the state’s vaccine plan does not allow high-risk Floridians under 65 to be vaccinated outside a hospital setting. The company’s website defaulted to criteria on the U.S. Department of Health’s website which includes that group. It is working to fix the issue.

150 million customers and members passing thru the doors of Walmart and Sam’s Club each week.

“I was certainly relieved to know more places would be provided the vaccine that could reach more people in different communities,” said shopper Sonja Fitch.

Walmart and Sam’s are getting 25,000 doses of the vaccine from the federal pharmacy program. With an emphasis on locations that reach customers in underserved communities and who may have limited access to health care.

The super-giant says 90% of the country lives within 10-miles of a Walmart making the shot accessible to many rural and under-served communities.

Before you book an appointment, you must have an account on Walmart.com. When you get to the booking page, you’ll be asked if you’re a Florida resident, 65 or older, work in a long-term care facility, or are a resident at one.

It still lists Florida residents who are considered extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, but again Walmart said its’ working to correct that error.

You must bring proof of eligibility to your appointment.


About the Author:

Multi-media journalist with a special interest in Georgia issues.