Pointing out 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of one of its stores, retail giant Walmart, Inc. (WMT -0.25%) says in a press release it's getting ready to help with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines once they're available in the United States. The company notes it "will not have any say in who can receive the vaccine, but we are ready to support states once they do."
Walmart operates over 5,000 pharmacies in its retail locations, including both Walmart and Sam's Club stores. The company says it is working out partnerships with individual states to receive, store, and administer the shots to people who want them. Additionally, it is making physical preparations for the receipt of vaccine doses, including creating systems to track the two injections people will require to achieve maximum immunity, and setting up dry ice supplies and freezers to keep the vaccines at the required low temperatures.
Walmart, which has already forged agreements with the federal government to speed up vaccine distribution through its pharmacies, has seen revenue grow strongly during the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdowns devastated small businesses across the USA, pushing more people to buy from the giant retailer. Celebrating its good fortune, the company recently shared another $700 million in bonuses with its workers, bringing the year's total to $2.8 billion.
Development of the vaccines, accelerated by major federal assistance under the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed, has seen half a dozen candidates emerge, which are now only awaiting FDA approval before becoming available to Americans. According to reporting by Footwear News, Walmart is the latest among a lineup of retailers, including Kroger, Walgreens, CVS Health, and others, that say they stand ready to aid in the distribution.