CVS Health and Walgreens announced their progress in administering COVID-19 vaccines in skilled nursing facilities, and their expectation that they will complete the administration of COVID-19 vaccine first doses in these facilities by Monday, Jan. 25
CVS Health is administering the vaccine in skilled nursing facilities in 49 states, with the rollout beginning in 36 states and Washington, D.C. last week. Start dates were as follows:
- Dec. 21: Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont
- Dec. 23: Maryland
- Dec. 28: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wash., D.C, Wisconsin
- Jan. 4: Wyoming
Start dates were chosen by each state, in addition to which types of long-term care facilities to activate first. The most at-risk patients were prioritized; of the approximately 15,000 skilled nursing facilities nationwide, nearly 8,000 chose to partner with CVS Health. The company expects to complete administration of first doses in skilled nursing facilities by Jan. 25, consistent with timelines originally shared with states and provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
States will have activated nearly 31,000 assisted living facilities partnering with CVS Health by next week, with first doses administered in all facilities within three to four weeks of start dates. Activation dates at the remaining nearly 8,000 CVS Health partner facilities have yet to be determined by states.
"Our work with long-term care facilities isn't a mass vaccination effort quite the opposite," said Larry Merlo, CVS Health president and CEO. "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. 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."
CVS Pharmacy teams will make three visits to each long-term care facility to ensure residents and staff receive their initial shot and critical booster. Most residents and staff will be fully vaccinated three to four weeks after the first visit, depending on which vaccine they receive.
Per an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Resources, COVID-19 vaccines will eventually be available at all CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country subject to product availability and prioritization of populations, which will be determined by states.
No vaccines are currently available at CVS Pharmacy locations, but the company is in discussions with several states to make a limited number of doses available in the coming weeks in advance of the broader rollout. Vaccines in a retail setting will be offered on an appointment-only basis via CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and there will be a dedicated 800 number for people without online access. CVS Pharmacy has the capacity to administer 20-25 million shots per month.
Walgreens also announced that it expects to complete the administration of COVID-19 vaccine first doses in skilled nursing facilities by Monday, Jan. 25. The company also is rapidly expanding access to vaccinations among assisted living facilities and additional vulnerable populations outlined by states and local jurisdictions as part of expanded distribution plans.
“Since receiving our first allotments of vaccines in late December, Walgreens has remained on track in vaccinating our most vulnerable populations, and we are steadfast in our commitment to accelerating access to COVID-19 vaccines as we receive additional guidance from state governments and jurisdictions,” said John Standley, president, Walgreens. “Walgreens takes immense pride in being a part of protecting our communities from COVID-19 and helping the country take this first step toward emerging from this pandemic.”
Walgreens began administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff at long-term care facilities in late December and is now active across 49 states and Wash., D.C. and Puerto Rico. Activation dates and prioritization of long-term care facilities were determined by each state. In accordance with CDC and state guidance, Walgreens provided COVID-19 vaccination clinics to skilled nursing facilities first and is expanding to assisted living and other types of facilities. The company will continue to partner with states and jurisdictions to provide vaccinations to residents and staff at 35,000 long-term care facilities that are partnering with Walgreens.
Walgreens will continue to work with states as they finalize their Phase 1b and 1c plans to administer COVID-19 vaccines to additional vulnerable populations, which may include essential workers and people ages 75 and older. COVID-19 vaccines will be available in all of Walgreens more than 9,000 store locations once they become available for mass administration. At that time, individuals will be able to schedule vaccination appointments through the Walgreens app or online.
“Walgreens pharmacy team members are embedded in communities and have more than a decade of experience providing immunizations,” said Standley. “They will continue to play a critical role in educating patients and supporting the administration of vaccines, including in rural and underserved communities.”
Walgreens noted that it is committed to driving health equity throughout the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines. Reaching underserved and rural areas is a critical component given the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 in these communities. While nearly 80% of the U.S. population lives within five miles of a Walgreens pharmacy, Walgreens said it is committed to leveraging different models, such as mobile and off-site clinics, to ensure the delivery of vaccines in underserved and rural areas. These communities have been a focus throughout the pandemic, with more than 70% of Walgreens COVID-19 testing sites located in socially vulnerable areas and the implementation of off-site clinics and voucher programs to ensure access to flu vaccinations in underserved areas.