Preventive health care can be described as the actions we take to monitor our health so we can handle any problems before they turn into more severe (and usually more expensive) conditions. Learning you have high blood pressure, for example, can direct you to the right care before you develop symptoms of heart disease.
Walmart is moving in on preventive health care by throwing a “wellness day” and, at some of its locations, offering free screenings for glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure and more. Free eye exams will also be available at select locations.
The event will run Saturday, May 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. Walmart says more than 4,600 locations are participating. You can call the pharmacy line of your local Walmart to find out what services will be available at your store.
The pharmacy giant says it’s also offering affordable vaccines for some diseases, including measles, mumps, flu, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, and HPV. HPV or human papillomavirus, while mild or asymptomatic in most people, is the most common sexually transmitted infection, or STI, in the US and is the virus that causes abnormal Pap smears and sometimes leads to cervical cancer, anal cancer and cancer in the throat. For these reasons, HPV vaccines are recommended before people become sexually active.
For these general vaccine services, it’s unclear whether pricing will depend on what sort of insurance coverage you have. Walmart didn’t immediately respond to a request for information on that. But COVID-19 vaccines will also be available during Walmart’s wellness event for free, regardless of insurance.
Even though Walmart’s wellness day is running for only a few hours this weekend, events like it are notable because for many people in rural areas that lack health care clinics and hospitals, the pharmacy serves as a point of care for those who’d otherwise have to travel for a prescription or speak with a pharmacist. According to Walmart, more than 4,000 of its stores are in “medically underserved” areas.