CVS Steps Up With Vaccinations

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CVS Steps Up With Vaccinations

By Thad Rueter - 01/26/2021
CVS Steps Up with Vaccinations
The chain says it has administered the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 8,000 skilled nursing facilities.

Retailers are racing to get into the COVID-19 vaccine game, and CVS is no exception.

The chain says it has administered the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 8,000 skilled nursing facilities across the country, delivering on goals established early in the process and communicated to participating states and jurisdictions months ago. Administration of second doses is well underway and expected to be complete within four weeks.

"We've administered nearly two million shots to one of our most vulnerable populations through onsite and, in many cases, room-to-room visits," said Karen S. Lynch, EVP, CVS Health and president, Aetna, — and who will become the company's next president and CEO on Feb. 1. "Our dedicated health care professionals are reaching long-term care residents and staff as soon as possible based on activation dates selected by the states, while navigating the challenges of a complex rollout."

The federal pharmacy partnership program divided long-term care facilities into two categories: 1) skilled nursing, and 2) assisted living and other facilities. For the latter, first doses of COVID-19 vaccines are complete in several states that selected December activation dates including Arkansas, Hawaii and New Mexico. As made clear by regularly updated data CVS Health makes publicly available, most states chose activation dates for assisted living and other facilities meaning, when CVS Pharmacy teams could first visit well into January:

Jan. 4: Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Utah, Washington, Wyoming 

Jan. 11: California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Vermont, Virginia

Jan. 13: Tennessee

Jan. 15: Alabama

Jan. 18: Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania (excluding Philadelphia, with a start date of Jan. 25), Rhode Island

Jan. 23: Maryland

Jan. 25: Illinois (excluding Chicago, with a start date of Dec. 28, 2020), Wisconsin

First doses at all long-term care facilities that selected CVS Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations more than 40,000 in total will be complete by mid-February, meaning the company is on schedule based on program parameters. Importantly, doses administered as a percentage of vaccines allocated by states is not an accurate way to determine progress. Allocations were based on long-term care facility bed counts multiplied by two to account for staff, but at most facilities occupancy is far less than bed count and staff uptake remains low.

Through a federal partnership, COVID-19 vaccines will eventually be available at CVS Pharmacy locations across the country subject to product availability and prioritization of populations. Several locations in Indiana, Massachusetts and New York are currently offering vaccines to certain age groups, with more states to follow in advance of the federal program being activated. Criteria for vaccination at these locations are defined by the states, and supply comes from state allocations. Vaccines in a retail setting will be offered on an appointment-only basis via CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and people without online access can contact customer service.

CVS Pharmacy has the capacity to administer 20-25 million shots per month.

"Our impact at retail will be significant given our presence in communities across the country and more than 90,000 pharmacists, licensed pharmacy technicians and nurses who will proudly take part in the vaccination effort," Lynch said.

Rival Walgreens is also racing to get vaccines to consumers. That chain recently announced it has administered more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccinations across long-term care facilities and other vulnerable populations identified as part of state and jurisdiction distribution plans.

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