CVS, Walgreens to finish first round of Covid vaccines in nursing homes by Jan 25

A CVS pharmacy supervisor prepares a coronavirus illness (COVID-19) vaccine dose on the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, December 29, 2020.

Hoang ‘Leon’ Nguyen | The Republican | Pool | through Reuters

CVS Health and Walgreens mentioned Wednesday they’re on observe to full the first round of Covid vaccine photographs at nursing homes throughout the nation by Jan. 25.

The federal authorities partnered with the 2 pharmacy chains to administer the photographs to residents and employees in long-term care services.

Nursing homes and assisted residing services are on the prime of the precedence record for the vaccine, together with health-care employees. Vaccinations on the services mark one of the first main steps in the broader nationwide rollout. Public well being and state officers have prioritized the long-term care services as a result of they’ve been particularly hard-hit by coronavirus outbreaks and deaths. Less than 1% of the U.S. inhabitants lives in long-term care services, however they account for about 38% of all Covid-19 deaths in the nation as of Dec. 31, in accordance to COVID Tracking Project, an effort led by The Atlantic journal.

With their updates this week, the businesses supplied a brilliant spot for a vaccine rollout that has been slower than federal officers and public well being officers anticipated. The U.S. has distributed simply over 17 million doses, and 4.eight million folks have been given their first shot as of Tuesday — far quick of the nation’s unique aim of immunizing not less than 20 million folks by the top of 2020.

CVS and Walgreens started inoculations at long-term care services in just a few states on Dec. 18. They’ve since expanded to hundreds of services throughout 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. West Virginia has not opted in to the federal program for Covid vaccinations at long-term care services.

CVS mentioned it has confronted a pair of challenges throughout this system. The precise quantity of residents in nursing homes was about 20% to 30% decrease than projections primarily based on mattress rely, the corporate mentioned in a information launch. And it famous that “initial uptake among staff is low,” including that half of that’s seemingly due to services wanting to stagger vaccinations of employees. Facilities are spacing out worker vaccinations to keep away from staffing shortages in case unwanted effects preserve some employees at residence for a pair of days.

“We’re dealing with a vulnerable population that requires onsite and, in some cases, in-room visits at facilities with fewer than 100 residents on average,” CEO Larry Merlo mentioned in a press release. “Despite these challenges we remain on schedule, and the number of vaccines we administer will continue to rise as more facilities are activated by the states.”

While greater than 3.2 million doses of vaccine have been distributed by the federal authorities via the federal pharmacy partnership for long-term care program, simply 429,000 have been administered as of Tuesday, in accordance to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But CVS famous that the CDC’s information lags actuality by two to three days, which CDC acknowledges.

In the approaching weeks, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, mentioned Tuesday at an occasion hosted by STAT News that she expects the broader rollout of the vaccine to pace up.

“I really expect the pace of administration to go up pretty massively in the next couple weeks,” she mentioned, including that services are figuring out early kinks and getting comfy dealing with the vaccines.

CVS, Walgreens and different drugstores and grocers have partnered with the Department of Health and Human Resources to supply vaccinations to most people, once they’re accessible.

Walgreens mentioned Wednesday that it is working with states as they finalize plans for the subsequent part of the vaccine rollout, comparable to administering the photographs to different high-priority teams like important employees and other people ages 75 and older.

CVS mentioned Wednesday it is in talks with a number of states “to make a limited number of doses available in the coming weeks in advance of the broader rollout.”

The corporations’ feedback come after Politico reported on Tuesday {that a} senior HHS official mentioned that 3,000 to 6,000 pharmacies might start administering Covid-19 photographs in the subsequent two weeks.

— CNBC’s Kevin Stankiewicz contributed to this report.

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