Walmart is setting up vaccination clinics for more than 200,000 of its workers and their families in India, as the country grapples with a devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The world’s biggest retailer is also leveraging its global supply chain to procure urgently needed oxygen equipment.
Although Walmart does not operate any stores in India, it controls two of India’s most important online companies: retailer Flipkart and its affiliated digital payment platform PhonePe.
Walmart said late Thursday that it will donate more than 3,000 oxygen concentrators and 500 oxygen cylinders for delivering respiratory therapy to patients. It will also donate 20 oxygen-generating plants and 20 cryogenic containers for oxygen storage and transportation. The company is funding an additional 2,500 oxygen concentrators as part of the US-India Business Council relief efforts. It said the equipment will be given to hospitals and non-governmental organizations.
India is battling a deepening coronavirus crisis. The country on Thursday reported 379,257 new cases, a new global record, according to figures released by the country’s health ministry.
India also reported 3,645 deaths, the highest number of Covid-19 deaths the country has reported in a single day. The catastrophic pandemic wave has overwhelmed and devastated the nation’s healthcare system, leading to a severe oxygen supply shortage that has compounded the death toll.
Walmart said it is donating $2 million through Walmart Foundation, its philanthropic arm, to support local NGOs, including Doctors for You to operate isolation centers and temporary hospitals.
Walmart, FlipKart and PhonePe are setting up free on-site vaccination clinics for more than 200,000 associates and their households as well as full-time contractors and delivery workers. The retailer is not procuring vaccines but will cover the cost of vaccinations for its associates and households.
“We are working hard to combine Walmart’s global capabilities and Flipkart’s distribution network to ensure vital oxygen and supplies are made available to those who need them most,” Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon, said in a statement.
Walmart joins other companies such as Google and Microsoft that are providing assistance in India. Google said it would provide a grant to UNICEF for urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and $18 million in aid.