The nation’s two largest pharmacy chains will be directly involved in the COVID-19 vaccine effort when a vaccine becomes available.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced an agreement with CVS Health and Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccinations to seniors living in long-term care settings throughout the country, along with facility staff. The vaccine will be free with no out-of-pocket costs and available in settings that include skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential care homes and adult family homes.
Facilities will be able to select which pharmacy they prefer to have on-site.
“Today’s historic pharmacy partnership will truly help jurisdictions solve a logistical hurdle and decrease the burden of distributing, administering, and reporting COVID-19 vaccination for both states and long-term care facilities,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield.
According to HHS, CVS and Walgreens will receive and manage the vaccines and available supplies and ensure they are stored at the proper temperatures. The companies will also be responsible for on-site administration of the vaccine for reporting required vaccination data.
"CVS Health has been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19, working across the health care spectrum in all the communities we serve and that will continue to be the case when we have a vaccine to administer," said Troyen Brennan, M.D., chief medical officer, CVS Health. "Our nation's elderly living in long-term care facilities are one of the most vulnerable populations. With early access to a vaccination, we can help keep them, and the staff caring for them, healthy and safe."
John Standley, president of Walgreens, stated, “Since the onset of the pandemic, Walgreens has worked closely with the CDC, HHS and the Administration to help accelerate the availability of COVID tests, ensure access to essential medicines and products and serve as a safe and trusted source of information in our communities.”
“We are proud of how our pharmacists have continued to serve our patients and look forward to leveraging our nationwide footprint, community presence and pharmacist expertise to help administer COVID-19 vaccines, once they become available,” he said.