CVS Leads Pharmacies on COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

There are nearly 10,000 CVS Health pharmacies in the U.S., and a CVS within a three-mile radius of everyone in the country, according to their marketing reports. On February 11, 6,500 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines will be available at CVS pharmacies with the rollout of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Exact locations haven’t been named, and, yes, it still might take months for you to receive the COVID vaccine.

President Joe Biden has committed to kick starting at least 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, as you may recall, and he hopes it may be as high as 150 million. The feds are planning to send 10.5 million doses a week—for the next three weeks—to state governments, which will then distribute to local pharmacies for widespread vaccine efforts. As you’ve heard by now, initial rollouts are surprisingly limited as SARS CoV-2 vaccine supplies remain inadequate across the globe.

Thousands of Pharmacies Stepping Up Vaccination Efforts

CVS Health is partnering with regional and federal programs to help administer the doses and to help follow each state’s guidelines that determine which “socially vulnerable” populations are next up for inoculation. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) makes recommendations for who will be offered COVID-19 vaccines, each state has its own protocol for doling out doses. The goal is for everyone to be able to get a COVID-19 vaccine if they want to, as soon as large enough quantities of vaccines are available.

Other pharmacy chains are jumping aboard the vaccination train this week: Walmart (including Duane Reade) and Rite Aid are among the first large pharmacy chains prepared to vaccinate tens of millions of Americans—at no charge.

Walgreens said it would start vaccinations on February 12 at locations in 12 states, including Puerto Rico, New York, and Illinois. As more supply becomes available, additional locations and appointments will be added.

Pharmacies to Administer Vaccinations in Nursing Homes

Who is getting the first round of pharmacy-based vaccines? The CDC has been working closely with pharmacy chains to offer on-site COVID-19 vaccination services to residents in long-term care settings, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities first.

The vaccine process may seem like it’s unfolding at a snail’s pace, but the Biden administration has increased the number of COVID-19 doses (sent to all 50 states) by 20% since taking office, according to a news report by NBC. Today, pharmacy hotlines recommend checking back soon, as new vaccine shipments arrive and pharmacies are able to start making appointments again.