Walmart is preparing to offer Covid-19 vaccinations in seven more states, as well as in Chicago and Puerto Rico, this week and next, a company spokeswoman told Reuters, expanding beyond the two states where its pharmacists are offering inoculations.
The move from the world's largest retailer comes as U.S. President Joe Biden races to accelerate a frustratingly slow vaccination campaign that has stranded about half of 38 million shots in freezers.
This week and next, Walmart will start providing inoculations in Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina and Texas as well as in Chicago and Puerto Rico, the spokeswoman said. The shots will only be available to specific populations decided by each state and only at a handful of stores in each state.
Walmart is already vaccinating health-care workers in New Mexico and its home state of Arkansas.
"We're supporting states at select stores and clubs as states roll out the vaccine to specific population groups as determined by the state this week and next, including Chicago, New Jersey, Georgia, Indiana Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas, as well as Puerto Rico," the company said in a statement to CNBC. "We have been administering vaccines in select stores and clubs at the request of the states in New Mexico and Arkansas. For more information on eligibility and locations, people should check with the state health department."
Alabama's state health officer, Scott Harris, on Thursday said it would partner with Walmart to provide Covid-19 vaccinations. Walmart confirmed that deal, which falls under a federal partnership that Biden on Thursday said would launch in early February.
Harris said another deal, with a major pharmacy chain, is coming soon.
Walgreens, CVS, Kroger, and Rite Aid have also stepped up to vaccinate Americans in what is the largest and most complex immunization effort in U.S. history. Those shots are needed to help stop the virus, which has killed more than 400,000 and infected more than 24 million people in the United States.
—CNBC's Bertha Coombs contributed to this report.