Walmart and Sam’s Club join COVID-19 vaccine distribution list, but appointments remain scarce

Two more big box stores are jumping into the fray in the COVID-19 vaccine front. But News 12 New Jersey has found that it is not as easy to get the shot as advertised.
New Jersey residents waiting for a vaccine have been beyond frustrated. Many have registered on numerous sites and are still waiting. Walmart and Sam’s Club are now trying to help, along with other pharmacies. But News 12 found that it can be confusing to find out when and where the vaccine may be available.
“I’m on the list for - probably since December I would have to say,” says Chris Aaman of Manalapan.
There are thousands of New Jersey residents who could relate.
“I get it, everybody wants to get it and there’s only so much out there, but…” Aaman says.
Aaman was filling his car with groceries in the parking lot of the Freehold Walmart. He says that he had no idea Walmart was offering the vaccine. Granted, the 51-year-old is not yet eligible for the vaccine under current guidelines.
A Walmart spokesperson told News 12 that 68 Walmarts and Sam’s Clubs are currently offering the vaccine to people 65 and older. But News 12 was told differently when calling the hotline.
“In Monmouth County, they are going to start scheduling on the 16th, next Tuesday,” the operator said.
But at the pharmacy in the Freehold Walmart, they were actually vaccinating people on Thursday. But News 12 was told only to those who are 75 and older, and that there were not more appointments being offered at this time. Registration would reopen when more vaccines are available.
The operator on the senior hotline said that anyone who wants a vaccine appointment shouldn’t expect to get one from calling the hotline. They said to call the store pharmacy directly or try the store’s website.
Other stores are also trying to help with vaccine distribution, including Rite Aid, ShopRite and CVS. CVS just added more stores to their list of those providing access to the vaccine. This is a big help for those who cannot get to a megasite or county-run vaccine center.
One does not need to be a Sam’s Club member to get the vaccine at that location, according to the company.