Walmart begins vaccinating eligible North Alabamians

Thirteen locations in North Alabama are administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

Posted: Feb 12, 2021 6:24 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2021 6:58 PM

People across North Alabama got vaccinated Friday inside a Walmart.

Thirteen locations in our area started administering doses and will continue as long as supplies last. 

One woman was lucky enough to snag an appointment and receive her first dose. Sandra Williams, 70, said the whole process was quick, easy, and she is grateful. 

"We have stayed at home, my children have been afraid for me to be out in the public a lot," Williams said. "I have a granddaughter, we haven't been able to do the activities we normally would be doing, so this is great."

But there were also a lot of people who were not able to get an appointment, including 78-year-old Richard Lambert from Meridianville.

He said he tried for four hours to make an appointment on Walmart's website, but it kept crashing. He is also on the waiting list for Huntsville Hospital and has tried to go through the health department.

He said he has two granddaughters who are in school right now and are constantly exposed to COVID-19. Lambert just wants to feel safe again.

"I would like to get the shot and get on my way to protect us and the rest of the people in our family, and it just seems to be impossible," Lambert said. "I don't know what is going on, but they sure need a better-organized system."

Right now, Walmart is only booking appointments through Thursday, Feb. 18. However, all the Walmarts in Madison County do not currently have appointments. 

Alabama Walmarts initially received about 15,000 doses from the government. It is unclear when it will receive more.

Friday, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris admitted he did not know exactly why some Walmarts were chosen over others. 

According to Walmart, the decision was based on several factors such as population density, customer demographics, infection rates and availability of local health care resources.

It also focused on communities with limited access to health care.

"I know they got a lot of info from the feds about equity issues and making sure they are reaching areas that don't have other access to vaccines," Harris said. "So there are a lot of things that were probably a part of that formula, but ultimately, they came up with 74 locations. That's about half of the Walmarts in the state."

A Walmart representative told WAAY 31 they are hiring more full-time, part-time and temporary pharmacists to administer the shots.

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