Walgreens Boots Alliance has administered more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccinations across long-term care facilities and other identified vulnerable populations. And now its in-store efforts are ramping up.
Walgreens began in-store vaccinations on Feb. 12 as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, with nearly all 180,000 doses of the first weekly vaccine allotment administered within three days. Beginning Feb. 25, Walgreens said it will receive a weekly allocation of more than 480,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses and support administration in the following states and jurisdictions, including: Arizona, Arkansas, Chicago, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
In addition, the company also continues to assist several states and jurisdictions with the administration of their COVID-19 vaccine allocations through in-store vaccinations or off-site clinics.
As part of Walgreens’ commitment to drive health equity, the company is launching the “Vaccine Equity Initiative” to increase access to vaccinations, provide education to address vaccine hesitancy and create partnerships that best meet the needs of each community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points to many interrelated factors that hinder vaccine access for communities of color, including vaccine hesitancy and lack of access to transportation.
“Walgreens understands more needs to be done to reduce health disparities and ensure equitable access to COVID vaccines,” said Carlos Cubia, senior VP and chief global diversity officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Our pharmacy team members reflect the communities we serve and have a deep understanding of the barriers to care among those most impacted by the pandemic. This initiative, combined with our community presence, allows us to create tailored solutions that can help to improve the health of communities.”
Walgreens COVID-19 vaccine equity efforts include:
• Hosting off-site COVID-19 vaccination clinics in more than 100 underserved communities across the nation;
• Working collaboratively with civic leaders, advocacy groups, and faith-based organizations to offer educational programs that build trust in COVID vaccine safety and efficacy and host vaccination events;
• Advancing Walgreens and Uber’s https://chainstoreage.com/uber-give-free-rides-walgreens-pharmacies-vaccinations efforts in collaboration with the Chicago Urban League and other partners, starting with educational outreach to grow confidence in COVID-19 vaccines as a precursor to providing free rides in socially vulnerable communities where transportation may be a barrier to getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Community partners will distribute vouchers for free or discounted rides, and pilots will start in Chicago, Atlanta, El Paso and Houston and scale nationally as vaccine inventories expand;
• Ensuring approximately half of Walgreen stores participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program are in medically underserved areas and areas with a high social vulnerability index score;
• Expanding access to COVID testing at more than 5,000 Walgreens pharmacy locations by April 1, with more than half of sites located in socially vulnerable areas.