A growing contingent of big-name companies — including Walmart, Starbucks and Microsoft — are teaming up with local governments and medical providers to get coronavirus shots in more people’s arms.
The public-private efforts come as Biden has outlined his plans to combat the virus that has killed more than 400,000 Americans, and they include a goal to administer 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his administration. Though at least 38 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States, just 2.4 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to data tracked by The Washington Post.
The early stages of vaccine distribution under the Trump administration were marked by confusion and miscommunication. Poor coordination between the federal government and states created shortages in some regions, while severe bottlenecks left others rushing to deliver doses before they expired.
Now, as vaccines remain hard to get and the pandemic continues to weigh on the economy, corporate giants are tapping their logistical and technological resources to help fast track vaccinations to their communities.
Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, has been preparing to offer the vaccine at its 5,000 U.S. locations. Starting this week, the retailer is making inoculations available through its stores in seven states, plus Chicago and Puerto Rico. Walmart said it expects to deliver 10 million to 13 million doses a month, “when supply and allocations allow,” through its pharmacies and events in underserved communities.
“With 150 million people passing through our doors each week, we’re in a unique position to reach people where they already shop,” the company said Friday in a news release.
This week, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced a public-private partnership with Starbucks, Microsoft, Costco and other homegrown brands to deliver vaccines in the state “as effectively and efficiently as possible.” Meanwhile, Amazon is partnering with a Seattle hospital to hold its first pop-up clinic this weekend, with a goal of administering 2,000 vaccines to the public. (Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.)