(Reuters) -Walmart Inc said on Thursday it was entering into agreements with U.S. states to administer COVID-19 vaccines, when approved, to customers and employees.
The retailer said it was preparing over 5,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies with freezers and dry ice to handle vaccine storage requirements. It was also working with states to support vaccinations in long-term care facilities, if needed.
Pharmacy chains CVS Health Corp and Walgreens Boot Alliance have also signed agreements with the U.S. government to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents of long-term care facilities.
The United States has agreed to buy 100 million doses of Pfizer Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine – closest to approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A panel of advisers to the FDA was set to review and recommend on Thursday whether the U.S. agency should authorize emergency use of the vaccine.
“States will determine who should receive the first doses of the vaccine and when. Walmart will not have any say in who can receive the vaccine, but we are ready to support states once they do,” Walmart said.
It said it was educating its employees about COVID-19 vaccine, and they can choose to receive it once they are eligible.
(Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shinjini Ganguli)