CVS, Walmart, Sam's Club offer vaccine walk-ins at Michigan stores

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

As state and federal officials push to increase the COVID-19 vaccination rate, Michigan residents have a chance to find the shot at three major retailers.

CVS Health announced Wednesday it is accepting walk-in vaccination appointments at its pharmacy locations nationwide, including the nearly 300 locations across Michigan.

Same-day scheduling also is available at CVS.com. The company’s COVID-19 vaccine scheduler is updated throughout the day to account for same-day cancellations, officials said in a statement.

A patient receives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine next to a guidelines sign at a CVS Pharmacy branch in Los Angeles.

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“We continue to orchestrate an all-out effort to vaccinate the nation against COVID-19,” said CVS Health president and CEO Karen S. Lynch. “Thanks to the dedication and effort of our colleagues, I am proud to say we helped achieve the president’s accelerated 100-day goal of 200 million vaccines and have administered over 17 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to date."

On Tuesday, Walmart and Sam’s Club announced COVID-19 vaccinations are available in all of their more than 5,100 pharmacy locations nationwide, across 49 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. That includes the 115 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies in Michigan, representatives said.

The J&J, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are administered in both walk-up and scheduled appointments registered through walmart.com/COVIDvaccine and samsclub.com/covid.

“Now that supply and eligibility have expanded, it’s even more important for us to reach underserved and vulnerable populations to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walmart's executive vice president, Health & Wellness. “Widespread vaccination is the only way we will eventually end the pandemic and help our country reopen, and we don’t want anyone to get left behind as we enter this new chapter in our fight against COVID-19.” 

The availability coincides with President Joe Biden this week announcing a goal for 70% of the nation's adults to have one vaccine shot and 160 million U.S. adults to be fully vaccinated by July 4.

The new goal comes as demand for vaccines has dropped off markedly nationwide, with some states leaving more than half their vaccine doses unordered. Biden will call for states to make vaccines available on a walk-in basis and will direct many pharmacies to do the same, and his administration is for the first time moving to shift doses from states with weaker demand to areas with stronger interest in the shots, the Associated Press reported.

In Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week announced the "MI Vacc to Normal" plan to tie COVID-19 restrictions to the percentage of residents who have received their first vaccine dose.

The plan includes four steps to gradually remove restrictions, beginning two weeks after 55% of adults are vaccinated. The final step, two weeks after 5.7 million residents, or 70% of the adult population, receive their first dose, the state will lift its gathering and face mask orders, the governor said.

As of Wednesday, more than 50% of Michigan residents over age 16, or about 4.12 million, have received at least one dose. Some 39.9%, or 3.23 million, are fully vaccinated, according to the state website.

Vaccine distribution efforts have increased in Metro Detroit communities, including clinics opening in Lincoln Park and Harper Woods.

To boost the vaccination numbers in Detroit, the city has been offering "good neighbor" incentives and walk-up vaccination clinics at the TCF Center, Farewell Recreational Center, Northwest Activities Center and the Samaritan Center.

Meanwhile, Michigan on Wednesday added 2,589 cases and 42 deaths from COVID-19. The latest figures bring the state's total number of cases to 854,536 and deaths to 17,939 since the virus was first detected in March 2020, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

The state continues to lead the nation at 254 cases per 100,000 people — a decrease from 330 cases per capita last week and a high of 519 cases per capita earlier in April — outpacing Minnesota at 191 cases per 100,000 people and Colorado at 190 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases and hospitalizations, however, are trending downward. Last week, Michigan added 25,065 cases and 454 deaths. During the previous week of April 18-24, the state added 34,013 cases and 449 deaths. 

As of Monday, 2,810 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, with 769 in an intensive care unit and 513 on ventilators. That's a 39% drop from April 19, when hospitalizations peaked with 4,158 inpatients.