COVID-19 vaccine shots are now so easy to get in California, you can get one while you grocery shop but vaccine hesitancy still remains a concern for top health officials.
Walmart, Sam's Club, and CVS announced a shift to walk-up appointments this week, meaning an appointment is no longer required for a patient to get the shot at their pharmacies nationwide.
That's about 1,115 CVS Pharmacy locations and 308 Sam's Club and Walmart pharmacies in California now opening up their availability -- on top of some local health sites that have also switched to a walk-up approach.
The three organizations offer the Moderna, Pfizer and J&J vaccines. The shots will be provided to walk-ups until supplies run out, the organizations said. A membership is not required to get a vaccine at Sam's Club, Walmart added.
Both organizations said that they would continue to offer scheduled appointments to those who want one. This option can save time by allowing patients to fill out paperwork ahead of time, Walmart said.
About 60 percent of eligible Californians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but the goal now is to reach communities that may still be hesitant to get the shot, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.
California COVID-19 Vaccinations
The map tracks the number of doses administered by a recipient's county of residence according to the The California Department of Public Health.
“We’re at a pivotal moment in our COVID-19 vaccine rollout – more than 30 million doses have been administered in California to date, and it’s going to take some new approaches to reach those who haven’t been vaccinated yet,” Newsom said.
Walmart, which has about 4,000 vaccination sites in communities considered medically underserved by the Health Resources and Services Administration, says their organization will partner with local organizations, non-profits and faith-based events to provide vaccines where the people are.
“Now that supply and eligibility have expanded, it’s even more important for us to reach underserved and vulnerable populations to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walmart's vice president of Health & Wellness.
California health officials estimate 53% of people in zip codes considered the state's most vulnerable areas have not been vaccinated, although about 40% of the state's supply has been sent to these areas.
California said that it would also target these hard-to-reach communities with smaller clinics and mobile sites, provide more transparency on vaccinations and award grants to local communities in their efforts to target underserved communities. The state will also partner with about 70 community-based organizations state-wide to call and door-knock those in targeted communities in an effort to ramp up vaccinations.