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Walmart answers to why Birmingham was skipped for vaccine distribution

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - When the list of which Walmart vaccination locations was revealed, just one major Alabama city wasn’t on it -- Birmingham.

Walmart officials said locations were picked based on federal and state input, but the state says that’s not true.

In Walmart’s vaccination press release, they claim they looked at locations based on population, demographics, infection rates and medically underserved areas.

“We worked with the CDC and States...” said Leah Pierce, Health and Wellness Marketing Director at Walmart.

State health officials say that’s not true, and location decisions were made by Walmart and the federal government.

“We are looking at underserved communities,” Pierce says.

Mobile, with three major hospital systems, will have 10 Walmarts administering vaccine. Huntsville will get 5, Montgomery, 7. And zere here. I asked why.

“Our focus right now is on those underserved areas,” said Pierce.

“So you are saying Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery are underserved, and Birmingham is not?” I replied.

“I’m not saying that,” she replied.

So how about population density, demographics or infection rate?

Birmingham is the largest city in the state, and 73 percent black. Looking at infection rates for Jefferson County, Mobile County, Madison County and Montgomery County.; Jefferson County has had more cases and deaths.

So again, why not Birmingham? Walmart said it could happen, but not now.

“As the allocation comes and as the states and Walmart work together with the federal government, potential (audio blip) will roll out in the future,” said Pierce.

State health officials say they hope to see the program expand as well. The CDC told me they did work with Walmart and expect further vaccine allocation in the future.

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