JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Many Walmart pharmacies in Jacksonville have a waitlist for anybody to call and put their name down to be called in case there are any leftover vaccines, News4Jax has learned.
It’s a fact that is not widely known and something that Walmart doesn’t promote.
On Monday, News4Jax called more than 20 different Walmart locations, from Southeast Georgia to Clay County to find out what is going on.
The catch is you can’t sign up online like a normal appointment, you have to call your local pharmacy.
In a statement from Walmart, the company said the waitlist falls under its “Eligibility and Waste Avoidance Protocols.”
“With the shared goal of never letting a dose go to waste... In the event additional doses from an opened vial are available and there is no scheduled appointment, we turn to individuals, including our associates, who fall within that priority to administer the remaining doses. If no one is available in that priority, where states allow, we move to the next priority,” the company said in a statement.
But, we learned, each pharmacy has its own protocols.
For example, the Walmart on San Jose Blvd. in Jacksonville said it is no longer adding people to the waitlist. The Walmart on Durbin Drive in St. Johns County said it is taking names, but has over 100 people on the list.
Meanwhile, a pharmacy employee at a Walmart in Macclenny said there were nine extra doses available at 11 a.m that would be available to those who wanted to be added to the waitlist in the next hour.
Of the more than 20 Walmart stores News4Jax called, most said there were a lot of people on the lists, but that doesn’t mean people don’t cancel.
And while Walmart emphasized the doses will go to those eligible first, the goal is to make sure no vaccine ends up in the trash.
A pharmacy tech said Walmart will call people on the waitlist three times. They will not leave a voicemail and after the third call they will move on to the next person. Also, you usually only have less than an hour in some cases 15 minutes to get to the store before your spot is given away.
Here are the groups that are currently eligible for the vaccine at Florida Walmart stores and don’t have to go on a waitlist:
- Healthcare Workers
- Emergency Medical Services
- Sworn law enforcement officers 50 years of age and older
- Firefighters 50 years of age and older
- Persons ages 16-64 with at least one high-risk medical condition as determined by a physician
- Pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools. Head Start and Early Head Start Programs. This includes teachers, staff and bus drivers
- Staff of licensed child-care providers including center-based and family care providers.