Walmart (WMT) is opening a series of drive-thru COVID vaccination sites in 18 states across the U.S. under the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.

The drive-thru vaccination sites will supplement the current vaccinations that Walmart is already administering at its store pharmacies in Arkansas, Chicago, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Walmart said it will administer the COVID vaccine at store pharmacies in Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington as it receives COVID shot allotments from the federal government.

The new drive-thru events are part of an effort by Walmart to offer access to the COVID vaccine to vulnerable communities. The retail giant is receiving an additional allocation of the COVID vaccine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the new vaccination sites.

Walmart will set up the drive-thru events in 18 states in its parking lots, in stores, and at some offsite locations in partnerships with community organizations.

The COVID vaccination sites will be set over the next several weeks as shot allotments are delivered in the states of Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia.

Appointments for eligible individuals can be made at Walmart said appointments are limited and will be updated as vaccine supplies become available.

“We have two goals as we administer vaccines: first, to reach as many people as possible to enable reopening efforts, and second, to ensure equitable vaccine distribution across the communities we serve,” Dr. Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president, Health & Wellness at Walmart, said in a statement.

“We have focused most of our events in medically underserved neighborhoods, and we are proud to play a part in increasing access to the vaccine in these communities. We will continue to engage within our communities to find new ways to reach additional customers with our vaccination programs as we work towards the eventual end of the pandemic.”

Walmart is one of several retailers that are offering the COVID vaccine to eligible recipients. Costco, CVS, Publix, RiteAid, Kroger, among others are also administering the COVID shot at their stores.

To date, the CDC said that over 46 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Shares of Walmart were trading at $132.20 as of premarket hours, up 25 cents of 0.19%.

Walmart ended an experiment to have robots scan and maintain inventory in US stores Walmart ended an experiment to have robots scan and maintain inventory in US stores Photo: AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM