COVID Vaccine Rates Are Down—Here’s How PEOPLE’s New Initiative With CVS Health and Walmart Might Help

"PEOPLE United to End the Pandemic" hopes to do just that.

Health officials have made it clear: getting fully vaccinated is the key in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Since the vaccines were authorized in late 2020, more than 37% of US adults have gotten their shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But now, vaccination rates are falling, and that threatens to increase the number of new cases and prolong the pandemic.

In an effort to reverse the vaccine slowdown, PEOPLE is teaming up with CVS Health and Walmart to make it easier for Americans to navigate the vaccine process and find a convenient place to get vaccinated. This nationwide push is part of the "PEOPLE United to End the Pandemic" initiative.

The initiative was announced on April 26 during the World Health Organization's World Immunization Week 2021. While CVS and Walmart will help spread awareness about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines in real time in their stores across the country, PEOPLE will have a smart code embedded into an advertisement for the initiative in its May 3 and 17 issues. The smart code will direct readers to the retailers' websites. From there, readers can get information on how to register for a nearby vaccine appointment.

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"PEOPLE has the largest audience reach of any magazine brand nationwide," Catherine Levene, president of the National Media Group at Meredith Corporation, said in a press release. (PEOPLE and Health are both part of Meredith.) "Our partnership with CVS Health and Walmart unites us for a great cause by spreading the word to millions of readers about the importance of getting vaccinated."

PEOPLE United to End the Pandemic will help bring vaccine information to communities that are especially in need. "Nearly 4,000 Walmart locations are located in rural and underserved communities, and the company is focusing its efforts on reaching those most vulnerable to COVID-19," Karissa Price, vice president of Omni Marketing, Food, Consumables, Health and Wellness for Walmart US, said in the press release.

With more than 9,900 locations, CVS says it's also well-positioned to help people find nearby vaccination sites. "We are pleased to join forces with PEOPLE to encourage everyone to get the vaccine. Most people have a CVS Pharmacy close by, and we've made it easy to book an appointment online or through our app," Norman de Greve, chief marketing officer at CVS Health, said in the same press release. "We look forward to helping everyone get one step closer to the friends, family, and fun we've all been missing."

The PEOPLE United to End the Pandemic initiative is one way companies and individuals can work together to achieve herd immunity. Collaborative approaches like this one are crucial, Deborah Fuller, PhD, professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington, has previously told Health. "This requires a community effort, everybody to step forward in and get their vaccines, so we can build up sufficient immunity of the population, so that the virus runs out of hosts to infect," she said.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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