by Derek Major

Walgreens, the national pharmacy and retail chain has announced a commitment to providing the coronavirus vaccine to underserved communities.

The company is launching the Vaccine Equity Initiative, which will expand vaccinations and create partnerships to meet the needs of each community.

“Walgreens understands more needs to be done to reduce health disparities and ensure equitable
access to COVID vaccines,” Carlos Cubia, senior vice president and chief global diversity officer,
Walgreens Boots Alliance said in a release. “Our pharmacy team members reflect the communities we serve and have a deep understanding of the barriers to care among those most impacted by the pandemic. This initiative, combined with our community presence, allows us to create tailored solutions that can help to improve the health of communities.”

The pharmacy and retail giant will host off-site vaccination clinics in more than 100 underserved communities across the country. Walgreens will also work with civic leaders, advocacy groups, and faith-based organizations to provide information on vaccination sites as well as where and when residents can get a shot.

Uber and Walgreens will also expand on their collaboration to deliver free or discounted rides to senior citizens and disabled residents in Chicago, Atlanta, El Paso, and Houston. The companies will also expand the partnership as more vaccines become available. The pharmacy giant has also committed to offer coronavirus testing at more than half of its 9,000 pharmacies nationwide by April 1.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the U.S harder than most countries. More than 29.5 million Americans have contracted the virus and more than 533,000 Americans have died from the virus. In comparison, Canada has less than 1 million total cases and less than 25,000 deaths.

This month, the pharmacy chain will receive more than 480,000 doses per week in 23 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The states include New York, Arizona, Utah, West Virginia, and New Mexico.