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Walmart’s COVID-19 Response Will Help Millions

Healthcare providers around the world have begun offering the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the communities they serve. Some DeltaTrak customers actually started preparing a year ago to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. One of those customers is Walmart. According to Lisa Smith, Senior Director of Health & Wellness for Walmart, when their clinical team realized how quickly the COVID-19 virus was heading to the United States, they sprang into action, “learning, planning and educating ourselves and our health care professionals on what a vaccine rollout could look like.” Smith describes how during the summer of 2020, Walmart began consulting the CDC and Health and Human Services, as well as creating teams tasked with figuring out how Walmart professionals would manage COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Administering vaccines is nothing new for Walmart pharmacists, as they’ve been performing vaccinations for such illnesses as influenza and tetanus for years. Following the FDA’s emergency vaccine authorizations in December, Walmart began inoculating healthcare workers in New Mexico and Arkansas. Lately, the global retail chain has been training and preparing its pharmacists and pharmacy technicians to administer the COVID vaccine to designated priority groups in other states, including Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina and Texas (in addition to Chicago, IL and Puerto Rico).

As a participant in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership Program, launched in February 2021, Walmart will distribute the COVID-19 vaccine through in-store clinics, as well as community events. Churches, stadiums and youth centers are some of the locales that Walmart clinicians will occupy to administer the vaccine. The five thousand U.S. and Puerto Rico Walmart (and Sam’s Club) pharmacies have the ability to disseminate between 10 – 13 million COVID-19 vaccine doses each month. Eighty percent of these locations are in “health care deserts”, and historically underserved communities, enabling Walmart to provide the vaccine to those who typically find it difficult to access health care.

To help individuals quickly and easily obtain the vaccine, Walmart is capitalizing on technology by using online store finder and scheduling tools.

DeltaTrak Loggers Help Pharmacists Preserve Vaccine Potency

In his comments regarding Walmart’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution, CEO Doug McMillon states they are, “making sure that we can handle the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine and do so appropriately and safely.” That’s where DeltaTrak comes in. We provide the temperature monitoring devices which help our customers protect products - which saves lives. We have equipped several Walmart pharmacies with the devices to monitor vaccine temperature during storage (and transport, when necessary). Keeping the COVID-19 vaccines at the proper temperature is critical to maintaining potency, and vaccine potency has never been more important than right now. It is widely known that up to 20% of all vaccines are lost due to spoilage. The objective in closely monitoring COVID-19 vaccines is minimizing the number of doses rendered ineffective due to temperature excursions.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, although both developed to guard against COVID-19 infection, require different handling. Pfizer’s vaccine is packaged in a thermal container filled with dry ice and ship from manufacturer to distribution sites at a temperature between -80°C and 60°C (-112°F to -76°F). The vaccine must be maintained at the same temperature when storing in an ultra-low freezer, or between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) when stored in a refrigerator for up to five days. The COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Moderna may be stored in either a freezer, at -25°C to -15°C (-13°F and 5°F), or refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F). DeltaTrak’s products are well-able to monitor these diverse temperature profiles, as well as those of the many vaccines currently in development.

DeltaTrak’s Flashlink Certified Vaccine ULT PDF Data Logger, Model 40570, was specifically designed to handle ultra-low vaccine temperatures, and is ideal for dry ice storage and shipping. Data analysis is easy with the auto-generated PDF, CSV and Daily Log reports. Audible and visual alarms immediately notify stakeholders of out-of-range conditions, which is a must for quick decision-making. For more information, please contact your dedicated DeltaTrak account manager or call 1-800-962-6776.

See a Walmart pharmacist who is actively engaged in administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

References

Smith, Lisa, Senior Director, “We’ve Spent the Past Year Preparing with CDC and Others to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines.” Web blog post. Walmart, Jan. 27, 2021. Web. Feb. 17, 2021.

Fares, Melissa and Baertlein, Lisa, “Walmart expands vaccinations in boost to U.S. COVID-19 program.” Healthcare & Pharma, Reuters, Jan. 22, 2021. Web. Jan. 30, 2021.

Pegus, Dr. Cheryl, Executive Director, “When Vaccines Roll Out in the U.S., Walmart Stands Ready to Serve.” Web blog post. Walmart, Jan. 22, 2021. Web. Jan. 30, 2021.

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