HUNTSVILLE, Ala — Where can you get the COVID vaccine in Alabama? Besides county health departments and vaccine clinics, you can get vaccinated at some pharmacies, including Walmart.
74 Walmarts and Sam's Clubs across Alabama will soon be distributing COVID vaccines, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
The shots will be available by appointment only to people eligible by the criteria set by ADPH.
ADPH says the vaccines for this program come from a federal allotment and is not take from Alabama's state allotment.
Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH said, "We are very pleased to have Walmart coming into Alabama to do this, but they have about 14,000 to 15,000 doses to spread out among their stores, so that's still not going to be a large amount."
If you have had trouble making an appointment, you're not alone. Walmart officials say a surge of appointments created some technical issues for Walmart and Sam's Club websites.
Walmart says the technical difficulties should not impact appointments already made. They say their teams are working to get the scheduler back online as soon as possible.
Licensed Walmart pharmacists will administer the vaccine.
Not all of the pharmacies listed will have the vaccine at all times. Availability depends on state allocations, which is based on the state's population, and eligibility will be checked for those scheduling appointments.
"Walmart will be following the Alabama Department of Public Health's allocation plan, but their appointment system is through their portal," said Dr. Landers.
Find the Alabama Dept. of Public Health COVID vaccine dashboard here.
As in other states, supplies of COVID vaccines have not kept up with demand in Alabama. Some vaccine locations are only giving second doses, others are continuing with initial doses. Alabama has given about half of its current vaccines doses available. The state receives new shipments weekly.
Huntsville Hospital COO Jeff Samz says those numbers can be misleading, and although their clinics aren't holding doses in freezers, most of the doses allocated to the state that haven't been given have someone's name on them.
Samz says Huntsville Hospital builds their vaccination schedule around how many doses their clinics will get.
"We're trying to anticipate how many people are going to come and how much vaccine we'll have, so we'll make sure we have your second dose here when it comes," said Samz.
Samz says if they start to run short on vaccine doses, they will stop taking new appointments to ensure there are enough for those who need their second dose.
Alabama is facing a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines because of the nationwide vaccine shortage.
State health officials say they are vaccinating as many people as they can as quickly as possible, but there are still far more people who want to be vaccinated than there are vaccine doses available.