As the new Biden administration looks to speed up the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, major pharmacies are partnering with federal, state, and local governments to administer the vaccines at locations across the country.
Large pharmacy chains, like CVS, Walgreens and Rite Aid, are beginning to receive large shipments of the vaccines in fifteen states, where they will immediately start taking appointments and administering COVID-19 vaccination shots to members of the public. The Biden administration announced it will be shipping out 2 million doses of the vaccine to pharmacies weekly, and as stated in a press briefing from Press Secretary Jen Psaki, the program will eventually grow to include 40,000 pharmacy locations in the United States. Increased shipments and expansion of the program into more than the current fifteen states will depend on the availability of the vaccine and as state and local governments expand their distribution capabilities, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The program aims to increase and speed up vaccine administration in underserved communities, specifically those in rural areas with little or no access to large vaccination sites. While distribution of the vaccine will continue to roll out in cities and more highly-populated areas, the amount of vaccines delivered to socially vulnerable communities is receiving special attention from the White House and CDC in the initial phases of vaccine rollout.
While vaccine eligibility varies from state to state, pharmacies will vaccinate those in higher risk groups first in accordance with the eligibility guidelines. The CDC has listed all participating pharmacy locations in each state here and will continue to update the list as vaccine distribution rolls out. Vaccine production, distribution and administration are all expected to increase in the coming months as the Biden administration enacts legislation like the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which allows pharmacies to partner with the government in this way to more efficiently combat public health crises like COVID-19.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ABC NEWS