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Through March 12, Walmart and its Sam’s Club subsidiary were administering COVID-19 vaccines in 44 states and jurisdictions at more than 2,700 locations.

Walmart, CVS, Walgreens participate in COVID-19 vaccine PSAs

Ad Council campaign enlists pharmacists to address consumer concerns about getting vaccinated

Walmart, CVS Health and Walgreens are working with the Ad Council and the COVID Collaborative to better educate Americans about COVID-19 vaccines.

The New York-based Ad Council on Thursday said pharmacists from CVS, Walgreens and Walmart — the nation’s three largest retail pharmacy operators — participated in new public service announcements (PSAs) that address common questions about coronavirus vaccinations. The PSA spots (see videos below) were developed with expertise from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as part of the “It’s Up To You” COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative.

The content is designed to educate consumers directly and serve as a resource to help pharmacists across the country prepare to answer questions from their patients, including “Why should I get vaccinated?”, “Who has to verify that the vaccines are safe and can prevent COVID-19?” and “After receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, can individuals return to normal social activities?”. The Ad Council said the videos will be distributed via targeted donated media placements to reach pharmacists. 

Recent Ad Council research showed that across demographic groups, Americans find “my pharmacist’ to be one of the most trusted messengers on COVID-19 immunizations.

“Our qualified pharmacists are partners in our customers’ health care journeys, providing quality care that supports our mission of helping people save money and live better — and healthier — lives,” Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president of health and wellness at Walmart, said in a statement. “This has never been more true than during COVID-19, where our pharmacists are trusted advisers and counselors, especially when it comes to the vaccines.” 

Walmart, CVS and Walgreens are among the 21 national partners in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination, which the Biden administration launched last month to supply coronavirus vaccines directly to pharmacies nationwide.  

Through March 12, Walmart and its Sam’s Club warehouse club chain were administering COVID vaccines in 44 states and jurisdictions at more than 2,700 locations. About 4,000 Walmart locations are located in rural and underserved communities, where the company is focusing its vaccination efforts to reach those most vulnerable to the virus. Walmart also is hosting community vaccination events and teaming up with local community organizations and leaders to widen access to the vaccine. 

Along with support of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative, CVS Health plans a CVS Pharmacy marketing and outreach campaign focused on reaching high-risk communities. The pharmacy company is working with community-based leaders and nonprofit organizations, including free and charitable clinics and faith-based organizations, to share educational information and set up community-based vaccine clinics, in addition to other grassroots efforts to foster equitable access to the vaccines.

“Our pharmacists are a local and trusted resource in the communities in which we serve,” stated Michelle Peluso, chief customer officer for CVS Health. “We’re amplifying their voices to provide accurate information, answer questions and reduce hesitancy as we continue to administer vaccines in a safe, convenient and inclusive manner.” 

Walgreens has worked to help consumers reluctant to receive the COVID vaccine by addressing their unique experiences and situations, the Ad Council noted. The drug chain’s efforts include forming partnerships with the Ad Council, Uber, Chicago Urban League and other advocacy groups; providing educational content via online channels and in-store materials; and collaborating with influencers and community leaders. Walgreens’ 27,000-member pharmacy team also provides patients with information about coronavirus inoculations. 

“As familiar faces and trusted health resources in the communities we serve, Walgreens pharmacists are powerful voices in helping everyone overcome vaccine hesitancy,” commented Patrick McLean, chief marketing officer for Walgreens. “Together with Ad Council and other pharmacy partners, we can make a meaningful difference in helping consumers access credible information about COVID-19 vaccines so they can make an informed decision that’s right for them.”

CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart are founding partners of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative's COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. The new pharmacist-specific PSAs are an extension of the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative’s recent informational videos to address health professionals’ questions about COVID-19 vaccines, featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s infectious disease arm, and other representatives from leading healthcare organizations. The website also offers content — vetted by experts at the CDC, HHS and COVID Collaborative — to help consumers make more informed decisions about getting vaccinated.

“As people across the country seek answers to their questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, we know local pharmacists are among the most trusted resources for the latest information,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “This extraordinary coalition of companies — CVS Health, Walgreens and Walmart — plays a critical role in getting Americans the information they need about COVID-19 vaccination so they can make the right choice for themselves and their families.”

Through the morning of March 18, 22.7% of the U.S. population had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, with 12.3% fully immunized, according to CDC data. More than 115.7 million of the 151.1 million vaccines delivered by manufacturers have been administered.

A nonprofit organization, the Ad Council brings together leaders and professionals in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address important national causes. The COVID Collaborative is a national coalition of experts, leaders and institutions in health, education and the economy and associations formed to battle the pandemic by supporting federal, state and local COVID-19 response efforts.

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