As the Biden administration works to increase COVID-19 vaccine distribution across the country, some of Florida’s most popular retailers have joined the rollout.
As of next week, Winn-Dixie, Sam’s Club and Walmart will be distributors of coronavirus vaccines offered through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
The retail chains join Publix, which has already begun administering the shots in some counties in Florida. CVS and Walgreens will also offer the shots in other states.
The vaccinations are expected to start late next week, and those eligible will be able to make an appointment online. Walmart has already introduced its online portal at: walmart.com/COVIDvaccine
The COVID-19 response coordinator in the White House, Jeff Zients explained the initiative in detail on Tuesday.
“Starting on February 11, the federal government will deliver vaccines to select pharmacies across the country. This will provide more sites for people to get vaccinated in their communities,” Zients said.
The White House said the ultimate goal was to distribute the vaccines through more than 40,000 pharmacies nationwide. State and local guidelines will determine who is eligible to get a shot at their neighborhood pharmacy. Availability will be limited at first.
Local leaders in Florida, like Broward mayor Steve Geller, have welcomed the move. But Geller wants more vaccination done in the large Black and Latin communities in the county. He says for this to happen, the county needs way more doses than what is currently being given.
“While the 16 percent increase that the Biden Administration has promised is certainly welcome, it is certainly not enough,” he said.
“The mayors were saying they want to do more of this — ‘we need more vaccines, we simply don’t have enough to give to the cities now,’ “ according to Geller.
So far, over 2 million people have been vaccinated in Florida.
As more seniors get the shot, Caribbean-American leaders in South Florida like Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie and Commissioner Danielle Cohen-Higgins have called for other residents – teachers, school staff, and tourism workers as per Cohen-Higgins, to be prioritized for the next round of vaccines.