Feb. 11, 2021 -- Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Walgreens will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines on Friday through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, joining a list of other national retail chains that will give shots to people who want a coronavirus vaccine.

Does It Matter Which COVID-19 Vaccine You Get?WebMD's Chief Medical Officer, John Whyte, MD, explains why it doesn't matter which COVID-19 vaccine you get at this time.48

JOHN WHYTE: Does it matter which

vaccine I get?

Any vaccine approved

or authorized in the United

States

has gone

through rigorous clinical trials

and has been thoroughly tested.

So any vaccine offered to you

should do a good job

of preventing COVID.

The two vaccines currently

authorized, Pfizer and Moderna,

have both demonstrated nearly

95% effectiveness.

Whatever vaccine you're given,

you want to follow your doctor's

orders.

Both require two shots,

but the timing is slightly

different.

And it's important you get

both doses.



John Whyte, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, WebMD/delivery/aws/db/a0/dba06f67-edc4-3b7e-8084-49d62df1fb8a/JW_CIC_Vaccines_Which_v4_FINAL_,4500k,2500k,1000k,750k,400k,.mp401/29/2021 12:00:0018001200Vaccines_Which_v4_thumb_1800_1200/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/covid19-images/Vaccines_Which_v4_thumb_1800_1200.jpg091e9c5e820f4945

CVS Health will also offer vaccinations on Friday in 11 states, with the scheduling system slated to open on Thursday. Customers can book an appointment on the CVS website or CVS Pharmacy app or by calling the customer service line.

“Individuals eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations are asked to use the appropriate digital channels or contact customer service to check for appointment availability, as opposed to contacting individual CVS Pharmacy locations,” the company said in a statement.

Costco, Kroger, Publix, and Rite Aid are also offering appointments, and more retail sites will open soon. The federal government is partnering with 21 national pharmacy chains and independent pharmacy networks to dole out doses, according to CBS News.

More than 1,000 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in 22 states will receive federal vaccine allocations this week, Walmart announced in a statement, placing an emphasis on locations that will reach customers in underserved communities with limited access to health care. Walmart and Sam’s Club are also giving vaccinations through state allocations in 11 states and the District of Columbia.

“Ninety percent of the country lives within 10 miles of a Walmart. We’re at the heart of many rural and underserved communities, and we are committed to providing access to vaccines as groups become eligible,” Cheryl Pegus, MD, executive vice president for health and wellness for Walmart, said in the statement.

“Vaccinations to achieve widespread immunity are important for reopening across the country,” she said.

Although the initial vaccine supply is low, the company said, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy technicians can expand vaccine access as more doses are shipped each week. Walmart has worked with the CDC to identify which locations should receive vaccine supplies based on population density, customer demographics, infection rates, and local health care access.

Eligible customers can schedule a vaccine appointment on the Walmart website or Sam’s Club website once appointments open. A membership isn’t required to get a shot at Sam’s Club.

Also on Friday, Walgreens will offer vaccinations in 15 states based on state and local guidelines, which could include health care workers, residents over age 65, and people with certain health conditions. When appointments are available, eligible customers can sign up on the Walgreens website.

Is Health Care on Your Walmart Shopping List?John Whyte, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, WebMD, speaks with Cheryl Pegus, MD, Executive Vice President of Health & Wellness, Walmart, about accessing health care at Walmart. 988

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JOHN WHYTE: Welcome, everyone.

You're watching Coronavirus

in Context.

I'm Dr. John Whyte,

chief medical officer at WebMD.

Today I'm joined by a very

special guest, Dr. Cheryl Pegus.

She's the executive vice

president of health and wellness

at Walmart.

Dr. Pegus, thanks for joining

me.



CHERYL PEGUS: Great to be

with you.

Great to be with WebMD, just

great work

that this organization has

always done, and it feels

like coming home.



JOHN WHYTE: Well,

congratulations

on your new role,

and I know you weren't

at Walmart when this pandemic

first started to change life

as we know it,

but how was it impacted

the work of Walmart?



CHERYL PEGUS: So I'll start off

by saying I think

this past year, 2020, has caused

changes for all

of our lives, personal

and our work lives.

At Walmart, to just think

of for everyone,

you've had to go get

your groceries.

Remember the time when we were

all hunting down paper towels

and wipes?

And think

of our frontline workers being

there every day to provide

those services.



We have over 2.5 million workers

who are our workers

throughout the organization,

5,000 stores.

They're ready every day, seven

days a week.

So, at Walmart, some

of the areas

of initial investment,

ensuring that we have PPE,

ensuring that we were allowing

our workers to understand

that when you come

into a Walmart store,

it's OK to ask someone to have

a mask on.

And so really empowering

this is for the health

of our country.

Here is how we can help make

a difference, and we continue

to do that.



Walmart also quickly recognized,

as many of us have,

just the impact that COVID-19

has had on our communities.

And so early on, over 35 million

in investments and working

with food banks,

in ensuring that, for groups

that needed to reach people, be

it an Indian Health Services

or at other organizations,

NAACP, we were providing funding

for technology, right?

That whole communication where

people weren't going out.

They were now at home.

How do we ensure we're

communicating with them?



Walmart is one of the leaders

in terms of the delivery

of care, and we do know

that COVID is going to change

how health care is delivered,

just not now, but also

in the future with really

this trend of bringing more

care into the home.

Yet, at the same, Dr. Pegus,

Walmart is building

actual health centers.

Is there a disconnect

there in terms of what we're

seeing

is going to be the long term

impact?



CHERYL PEGUS: In making health

care accessible,

there are many conditions

that you can manage

through a telehealth platform.

And I think, as you've

mentioned,

John, over the last year,

in some areas

like behavioral health,

you've seen a 5000% increase

in the use of telehealth

for behavioral health,

but it's not

for every behavioral health

condition.



You can say this

for some medical conditions.

Can I receive an update

on my blood pressure

and refill my medication

through a telehealth visit?

You can.

But if I'm having pain

and I'm trying to figure out

what's the best way for me

to determine do I need to go

to an emergency room,

can I wait to just get

an appointment, you need some

of that in person.



And so what we've really done

is we've added more tools

to our toolkit.

We at Walmart, as I think many

of you are aware, have just

started doing more home delivery

services.

We've launched a Walmart plus

service that provides

many in-home services.

And so what we really have

to do, because health care is so

local,

is look at our communities

and determine what are

the additional services

that your Walmart can provide

in health care.



There are services.

Just look at communities where

you don't have

enough primary care physicians,

but you've got a pharmacist

in a Walmart, and you may have

a health clinic.

We look

at underserved and rural

communities

as areas where all of us

in health care have identified

gaps that Walmart's already

located in these communities.

I use this statistic because I

think it's just a good reminder.



150 million people a week come

through a Walmart.



JOHN WHYTE: Wow.

150 million?



CHERYL PEGUS: Just think about--



[INTERPOSING VOICES]



JOHN WHYTE: Wow.



CHERYL PEGUS: 150 million.



JOHN WHYTE: You know, we talked

before the show.

A couple years ago, if I said

to people, would you

go to Walmart for your health

care?

People would think I'm crazy

and be like, why would I

do that?

Now if I ask people, will they

go to Walmart for their health?

They say, I prefer going

to Walmart.

Why is that?



CHERYL PEGUS: So there are three

pieces, right?

One is definitely cost.

Every day low prices at Walmart.

And health care, one

of the great barriers in health

care, is cost to people

accessing it,

but it's the other point that I

made earlier.

We have 5,000 stores located

across the country

in your community.

It's access.

It's being able to--

I can get my groceries,

but I can also pick up

my glasses.

I can get my prescriptions,

or I can talk to a pharmacist

about diabetes.



And now that we are opening

health clinics, I can also see

a physician.

You have one place where you're

receiving all of these services

by people from your community.



JOHN WHYTE: I want to get back

to care that's being delivered

at a Walmart.

We've seen that in other type

of pharmacies.

Sometimes there's the criticism.

Let's be honest,

people will say,

it's not as connected as it

should be if I'm seeing

a different provider all

the time,

or if it's not connecting back

to the medical record.

What changes are you making

to ensure there's still

that level of connectivity?



CHERYL PEGUS: So the first

is our health centers are

actually staffed by physicians.

They are your physicians.

They are physicians

in the community.

They work for our health center,

and you will be seeing

those physicians at every visit,

but you did also talk

about, right, this ability

to have telehealth and ensuring

that telehealth links

to primary care, right?

So you have that continuity

of information

about an individual so that they

know-- they don't have to repeat

it,

and that the correct information

to make sure that they're

receiving safe quality care

is occurring.



We've built out our systems

to allow that to occur,

and then it's how do you refer

so that you're receiving

the best specialty care when you

need that.

And so, within communities, what

we're doing is we're partnering

with the health systems

and the health partners

to allow that to occur.

Our hope is that we're

identifying and finding people

earlier

on in any medical conditions

to prevent their progression.

But if they do

have a progression, that we're

utilizing local health care

resources to get them

to the right care.



JOHN WHYTE: How is it going

to permanently change patient's

expectations of what they want

from health care and health care

providers?



CHERYL PEGUS: So, it's

a great point.

And it's not just a patient's,

right?

It's, how has COVID changed

physicians?

Changed that behavior.



JOHN WHYTE: Let's start

with that.

How COVID changed--



CHERYL PEGUS: Right?

It changed everything.

There was a time when we

wondered how quickly would

physicians adapt to telehealth.

Would they make it part

of that omnichannel access

for their patients

to be able to receive care,

and we've seen that, yes,

physicians will change behavior.



JOHN WHYTE: Well, we did change

regulations, to be fair,

and we did change payment,

as you know.

That goes a long way.



CHERYL PEGUS: It definitely,

but you're also seeing

physicians,

you know, I mentioned

behavioral health where there's

been some good data that has

come out that has shown

great adherence to medications,

people feeling as if they are

getting healthier,

and so I do think there is

this piece of this that is data

driven that really says,

here's how we may want to care

for populations going forward.



I'll step back and just make one

comment.

One of the things that we saw

with COVID-19

is that because many people

could not go see

their physicians,

physician practices have had

to evaluate what's the best

structure for me to be

in business

because, at the end of the day,

I want every day to pay

my staff.

We've got overhead to manage,

and we want to provide

the right services.



And so there is different types

of contracting that physicians

do, right?

There's fee for service

versus value based care.

And I would just say,

in value based care,

it is not just about

I saw my physician

and I got my prescription.

It's about, are we helping

people understand the things

they should do

for self-management?

Are we helping them understand

the importance of taking them

their medications on time?



There is much more

of a holistic view

when a physician is managing you

holistically.

It's not just you came to see me

today.

And that shift in value based

care payment models I think

we again see post-COVID growing

because fee for service

is challenged if people can't

access you.

Those types of data driven

approaches to improving health

care is frankly where we are

and where we're going.



JOHN WHYTE: Do you think there's

also an acceleration

to the patient truly is becoming

more aware of their care

and really in control

of their care?

Patients are much more empowered

now because of the resources

they have, part

of the retail tools,

many of which

Walmart sells, that they have.

Is health care fundamentally

changed, Dr. Pegus?



CHERYL PEGUS: The way I look

at this is, what's the stage

of health wellness that you're

in?

In early stages of health,

right, where you don't have

many illnesses, you may not even

take any medications,

that self-management,

we've actually always wanted

people to do that.

We now have better tools

and technology to allow

that to occur, and we are doing

a better job-- you know,

you started out just the way

physicians speak.

To patients, sometimes it's

a different language.



We now understand the importance

of health literacy,

of cultural concordance

and the way we speak

with individuals.

We're investing in what that

should look like.

It allows us to empower people

to help them manage

their own mild illnesses.

As you move along a continuum,

though, where you have more

chronic conditions,

or you're taking five

medications at a time,

your needs are very different.

And even for us in the health

care field, we wouldn't do that

without having a physician

buddy.



We're learning right now

an opportunity of, how do we

take our current talent

pool of health care

professionals

and continue to provide care

across the country,

allowing people who can

self-manage with the right tools

do that?

So how are we triaging?

Hey, you can do this.

Here is how we'll empower you

to do it with technology

and with some remote monitoring.



You need a little bit of help

in doing this.

Our pharmacists actually can

help you

with your immunizations,

understand your medications,

as well as manage your diabetes

and answer questions, including

what you may find over

the counter.

You just had a heart attack.

Obviously, you need to see

a primary care physician

on an ongoing basis

and a cardiologist.

And by the way, we're totally

aware of the mental health that

comes with that.



Can you imagine what data and AI

is allowing us to do to segment

our populations,

our communities,

so that everyone is getting

the right amount of health care

and we can reach everybody?

That is the future of health

care, I hope.



JOHN WHYTE: And that

is our goal.

But what keeps you up at night?

We've talked about all

the good things, but what keeps

you up?



CHERYL PEGUS: The things

that keep me up the most

is, how do we ensure

that everyone has equitable

access to health care?

And I think, you know, I've been

asked, joining Walmart, that's

the reason.

You heard me say we are

in every community, particularly

underserved communities

and rural communities.



JOHN WHYTE: And finally, you

and I have talked about one

of our initiatives at WebMD

and Medscape is about diversity,

particularly diversity

in the health care workforce.

Here you are, a woman, a woman

of color, a cardiologist who

is at one of the most

senior roles of health

care in the country, one

of the biggest

companies in the world.

What's Cheryl Pegus' story?

What was your journey

into medicine?



CHERYL PEGUS: The first thing

to my journey

is good relationships

and mentors.

For everyone out there,

none of what is possible

is as good as when we get

support, help, and [INAUDIBLE]

of people who are supporting us,

and we're asking questions.

But I started out, really,

with an interest in health care

because of family members

who had been ill, couldn't get

great access,

and so it was really

a learning for me at a pretty

young age of how important it

was that when you were sick,

you had a place to go,

a place that was acceptable

and understanding

of you as an individual.



So that was a big driver early

on, and then I really chose

my specialty, heart disease,

as an area

to focus on because it remains

the number one cause of death

in this country.

And if you look at women

and you look at minority groups,

even higher rates of disease.

So it was kind of an area

that, gosh, it'd

be great to understand

it and see what I could

contribute to that.



And so I've really, hopefully,

invested time in learning

and understanding so that I know

how do you truly improve health

in a community.

I've mentioned mentors a couple

of times, and I've done this

with an army.

Not just my family, but people

in other business areas really

saying, well, here's how we're

looking at health care

when we're purchasing it,

or here's how we're looking

at health care

when we're investing in it.



And the time spent in that

has made this a very rich

journey.

I tell everyone,

and I think I've said this

a couple of times

even at WebMD and Medscape

before, this is probably

the best profession to be in.

You can be John Whyte.



[CHUCKLING]



Look at that--



[INTERPOSING VOICES]



CHERYL PEGUS: --that John has

and what he's doing.

You can be working

in the pharmaceutical industry.

You could be doing

a new technology startup health

care company.



Look at AI and data.

Just think about

the possibilities of what's

open to you,

and I think that, for me, has

just been a really great way

to look at this profession

that I hope I get to do for as

long as I want to do.

And I say to women,

to underrepresented minorities,

it's work, but everything's

work.

At the end of the day, every day

you get up and you do something

that's making a difference,

and it doesn't feel like work

when you're having such

a great time contributing back

to society.



JOHN WHYTE: Well,

my good friend, Dr. Cheryl

Pegus.

Thank you for sharing

those insights.

Thanks for your leadership.

And a reminder to folks as well

that it is about mentorship.

It's about continuous evolution,

and it's still an exciting time

to be involved in health care.

Thank you, again.



CHERYL PEGUS: Thank you so much.

Great to be with you.

I hope to be working with you

for many more years Thank you

for your friendship

along the way.



John Whyte, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer, WebMD.<br>Cheryl Pegus, MD, Executive Vice President of Health & Wellness, Walmart./delivery/aws/d4/05/d405d9e2-50e6-317c-bb2e-1352b3d3381a/Pegus_012221_v6_,4500k,2500k,1000k,750k,400k,.mp402/09/2021 12:00:0018001200Pegus_012221_1800x1200/webmd/consumer_assets/site_images/article_thumbnails/video/covid19-images/Pegus_012221_1800x1200.jpg091e9c5e821079f3

“Walgreens was one of the first pharmacies to begin administering COVID-19 vaccinations in December to long-term care facility staff and residents, and we look forward to leveraging our experience to support the federal government and CDC in expanding access to these vaccines,” John Standley, president of Walgreens, said in a statement.

“Our pharmacy teams have already provided nearly 2 million COVID-19 vaccinations and stand ready with their expertise to help educate and vaccinate additional Americans, including those in rural and underserved communities,” he said.

The U.S. has shipped nearly 66 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to a CDC tally updated on Wednesday. More than 33.7 million people have received the first part of the two-dose shot, and 10.4 million people have gotten both doses.

Other retailers are offering COVID-19 vaccines in select stores by appointment. Check the websites for locations, to see if you’re eligible, and to find appointment times:

WebMD Health News

Sources

CBS News: “Pharmacies now offering COVID-19 vaccines: Here’s what you need to know.”

Walmart: “Walmart and Sam’s Club Pharmacies Administer COVID-19 Vaccines Through Federal Retail Pharmacy Program,” “COVID-19 Vaccine Scheduler.”

Sam’s Club: “COVID-19 Vaccine.”

Walgreens: “COVID-19 Vaccine,” “Walgreens to Expand COVID-19 Vaccinations in Stores as Part of Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.”

CVS Health: “COVID-19 Vaccine,” “CVS Health provides update on availability of COVID-19 vaccines, Feb. 8, 2021.”

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.”

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