Walmart set to launch vaccines in South Florida but online signup hits a snag

Winn-Dixie, Publix and Sam’s Club also part of federal COVID-19 pharmacy program

HIALEAH, Fla. – Eleven Walmart stores in South Florida will be offering COVID-19 vaccines to senior citizens starting Friday. Certain Winn-Dixie locations are offering the shot starting Thursday.

Part of the new federal retail pharmacy program under the Biden administration, these locations promise to give a shot in the arm to local vaccination efforts — but there have been some early snags reported.

Appointments must be made online, and when we checked Walmart’s website Wednesday morning, it didn’t appear to be letting people sign up just yet.

“The Walmart scheduling system is currently experiencing technical difficulties following a surge of appointments. Our team is currently working to resolve the matter to have the scheduler back online as soon as possible,” a Walmart spokesman told Local 10 News partner WJXT in Jacksonville shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday.

[MORE INFORMATION: Vaccines coming to Walmart, Publix and Winn-Dixie stores in South Florida]

Remberto Urrutia made a special trip to the Walmart on NW 77th Court in Hialeah on Wednesday to find out how he could get the COVID-19 shot.

Employees gave Urrutia, 79, a pamphlet that says you have to sign up online to get an appointment.

Walmart, Sam’s Club and Winn-Dixie are joining Publix in offering the vaccine as part of the federal retail pharmacy program.

A million doses will be shipped nationwide by the end of the week, with about 40,000 going to Florida store pharmacies.

That’s on top of the 325,000 doses for the state’s weekly allocation from the federal government.

Gov. Ron DeSantis gave an update on the state’s vaccine rollout during a news conference Wednesday morning in Venice, saying, “Of all the people that have been vaccinated in Florida, close to 75% of all shots have gone to senior citizens.”

Demand for the vaccine continues to outpace supply, though.

On Winn-Dixie’s website Wednesday, a message appeared saying “no appointments available.”

The state said that some Winn-Dixie locations in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties would be getting vaccines, but not Broward at this time.

Miami-Dade and Broward are not yet part of the distribution at Publix supermarkets.

CLICK HERE to see a list of the Walmart locations in South Florida offering vaccines, plus more information on how to sign up for shots at all of these pharmacies.

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