Walgreens has hit a big milestone in its COVID-19 vaccination efforts. The company now has provided more than 3 million COVID-19 vaccinations across long-term care facilities and additional vulnerable populations within various states and local jurisdictions. It also has completed administering first doses in all long-term care facilities where it was chosen as a vaccine provider.
“COVID-19 has had a disproportionate and tragic impact on residents and staff in these facilities and Walgreens pharmacy teams have stepped up to support this significant undertaking and protect those who greatly need the vaccine,” said John Standley, president of Walgreens. “We have rapidly accelerated vaccine administration in long-term care facilities over the last month and will continue to expand access to vaccines in our pharmacies as supply becomes available.”
The news comes one week after Walgreens began administering in-store vaccinations via the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. In the first three days of offering in-store vaccinations, the company administered almost all 180,000 doses allotted for the first week. Beginning Feb. 25, Walgreens will be receiving a weekly allocation of 480,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses to support vaccination efforts in Alaska, Arizona, California, Chicago, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. In several of those states, the company will be added as a new pharmacy provider through the federal pharmacy partnership the week of Feb. 25.
The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program is being undertaken in addition to Walgreens’ work directly with states and jurisdictions to administer COVID-19 vaccine allocations in store and at off-site clinics.
As it continues its vaccination efforts, Walgreens is launching the Vaccine Equity Initiative, aimed at increasing access to vaccinations, providing education to address vaccine hesitancy and creating partnerships to meet community needs. It also has undertaken a partnership with Uber to help with transportation to vaccine appointments, and is working to advance the rideshare company’s partnership with the Chicago Urban League and others to enable educational outreach in socially vulnerable communities. The retailer also is working to ensure that roughly half of its stores participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program are located in medically underserved areas. Alongside vaccinations, the company is working to offer COVID-19 testing at more than 5,000 locations by April 1, with more than half of the stores located in socially vulnerable areas.
“Walgreens understands more needs to be done to reduce health disparities and ensure equitable access to COVID vaccines,” said Carlos Cubia, senior vice president and chief global diversity officer at Walgreens Boots Alliance. “Our pharmacy team members reflect the communities we serve and have a deep understanding of the barriers to care among those most impacted by the pandemic. This initiative, combined with our community presence, allows us to create tailored solutions that can help to improve the health of communities.”