Walmart Inc. plans to offer Covid-19 vaccines in at least seven additional states in the coming days, significantly expanding the availability of shots as the U.S. grapples with a slower-than-expected rollout.
The world’s largest retailer, which had already been providing inoculations to eligible people in New Mexico and Arkansas, will broaden the effort to select stores in Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina and Texas, a Walmart representative said Friday. The company will also offer vaccinations in Chicago and Puerto Rico.
The move comes as U.S. President Joe Biden tries to accelerate the country’s halting effort to vaccinate the population against the coronavirus and combat the threat of new strains. As of Thursday, about 56.7 million doses in 52 countries had been administered, including 18.4 million shots in the U.S., according to data collected by Bloomberg.
Walmart is currently working with individual states to administer doses. The company is also part of a federal program that will send shots to pharmacies across the country. That program could start in early February, Biden said this week.
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