Walmart health chief urges Americans to ‘get your vaccine when your turn comes’

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 590 views 

(photo courtesy of Walmart Inc.)

Three vaccines are now available in the United States, an incredible feat of medical science and global collaboration for healthcare advancement, according to Cheryl Pegus, Walmart’s recently named executive vice president of health and wellness.

Pegus said Americans should not get anxious over which vaccine to take, but rather consider the one offered first the best choice possible. She said consumers don’t have the ability to choose which vaccine they receive and that will be the case as long as supplies are limited.

“When your turn comes, I suggest getting the COVID-19 vaccine, no matter which one it is. Walmart will administer whichever vaccines we are allocated from the federal and state governments,” Pegus noted in a blog on Tuesday.

Brett Biggs, chief financial officer at Walmart, said Tuesday helping to vaccinate America against COVID-19 is the most important work the retail giant can do at this time. He said supplies and regulations vary from state to state with regard to vaccine rollout but Walmart is committed to doing its part in seeing that Americans get the vaccine in a safe and timely manner.

Each of the three vaccines has been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for “emergency use” in the United States. They have all completed safety and efficacy studies in humans and have been reviewed by expert groups, which have found them to meet safety standards across age, gender, race and ethnicity demographics, Pegus said.

To date, all studies have found the vaccine to be safe and effective. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends pregnant women receive the vaccine and also suggests a consultation with one’s personal healthcare provider is helpful in making the decision to receive the vaccine, she added.

Cheryl Pegus, Walmart’s recently named executive vice president of health and wellness.

Pegus said the Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech and the latest Johnson & Johnson vaccine each work differently but all have been successful in building antibodies against COVID-19 which is the best chance for protection against the virus.

“We have an opportunity to get back to the things we enjoy doing, like seeing friends and family, and we have three safe, effective vaccines to help us do that. In the meantime, stay safe. Follow public health guidelines that suggest staying home if you are ill, staying 6 feet apart from others, practicing good hand washing and wearing masks as recommended by the CDC. I hope you get your vaccine when your turn comes. I know I will,” Pegus noted.

Walmart, which employs around 1.5 million people in the U.S., has joined other retailers in stressing the importance of the vaccine among frontline workers, but the retail giant has not yet provided any incentives to entice employees to get in line. Walmart competitors such as Dollar General have offered employees four hours of pay to get the vaccine. Aldi is giving its worker two hours of pay for each dose they receive. Kroger recently announced a $100 bonus to employees who could show proof they got the vaccine. Target is giving employees up to four hour of pay for the time they spend getting the vaccine.