The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House are looking to CVS Health and Walgreens to supply vulnerable populations with the COVID-19 vaccine once one is approved and available.
The two companies will work to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to long-term care facilities — including residents and staff — throughout the country when the vaccine becomes available. The partnership also will include other high-priority groups. Long-term care facility residents comprise a population particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
“Protecting the vulnerable has been the number one priority of the Trump Administration’s response to COVID-19, and that commitment will continue through distributing a safe and effective vaccine earliest to those who need it most,” said HHS secretary Alex Azar. “Our unprecedented public-private partnership with CVS and Walgreens will provide convenient and free vaccination to residents of nursing homes across America, another historic achievement in our efforts to get a safe and effective vaccine to Americans as fast as possible.”
Throughout the pandemic, both companies have worked to expand access to testing while also ensuring access to necessary medications and offering flu shots alongside information and resources. CVS Health said it has administered more than 5 million COVID-19 tests so far, and Walgreens said it has surpassed 1 million.
"We are proud of how pharmacists continue to rise to the challenge in serving the needs of patients in combatting the pandemic," Walgreens said in a statement. "We look forward to leveraging our nationwide footprint, community presence and pharmacist expertise to help administer COVID-19 vaccines once they become available."
CVS Health president and CEO Larry Merlo noted that long-term care facilities have been among the underserved communities the company has focused on with its testing efforts. It also has been offering testing via employers, and Merlo said that CVS Health has the capacity to administer 4 million tests per month in the coming months.
"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, CVS Health chief medical officer. "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."