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Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

HHS to partner with pharmacy chains to provide access to COVID-19 vaccines

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is partnering with large chain pharmacies and networks of independent pharmacies and regional chains to maximize access to COVID-19 vaccines.

This effort will cover approximately 60 percent of pharmacies throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“Ensuring access and affordability of the COVID-19 vaccine for all Americans is a top priority for the Trump Administration,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. “We are leveraging the existing private sector infrastructure to get safe and effective vaccines supported by Operation Warp Speed into communities and into arms as quickly as possible with no out-of-pocket costs. The vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are available.”

The vaccines will be administered at the partners’ pharmacy locations at no cost to patients. Currently, there are no FDA-approved vaccines available.

“Since 2012, CDC has worked extensively with pharmacies to improve pandemic preparedness, conduct vaccine throughput exercises, and assess store and organizational response capabilities,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said. “Through these partnerships, we will leverage established relationships to support our critical public health mission of vaccinating the American public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The participating pharmacies include Albertsons (including Osco, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Star Market, Shaw’s, among others); Costco; CVS Pharmacy (including Long’s); Good Neighbor Pharmacy; H-E-B; Hy-Vee; Meijer; Publix Super Markets; Rite Aid; Kroger; Walgreens; Walmart, and others, to name a few.

Pharmacies that do not participate in the federal allocation program should coordinate with their jurisdiction’s health department to become COVID-19 vaccine providers.