Feds partner with pharmacies to distribute COVID-19 vaccine

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The federal government has entered into partnerships with pharmacies and networks nationwide to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine once it is available, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced.

As of Nov. 6, 19 chain and community-pharmacy networks had entered into a partnership, including CVS Pharmacy, Kroger Co. Meijer, Publix Super Markets, Rite Aid Corp., Walgreens, Walmart, and Winn-Dixie Stores. Approximately 60 percent of pharmacies in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands are covered.

These networks also will be included in the federal pharmacy program.

“Since 2012, CDC (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 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.”

Under the partnership, vaccines will be administered at partners’ pharmacy locations. Customers will not be charged.

The federal government encourages pharmacies not participating in the program to coordinate with their local health department to become COVID-19 vaccine providers.

It is expected a vaccine will be authorized or approved by 2021.

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