The Trump administration announced that it partnered with CVS and Walgreens to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, once available, to long-term care facilities.
Two US federal agencies, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense, announced on Friday last week their partnership with CVS and Walgreens. That is to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, across the country.
Partnership and Priorities
The Trump administration dealt with two drugstore companies to distribute the coronavirus vaccine to long-term care facilities for free. Moreover, they are the priority once a vaccine is ready and available. The program will also reach out to residents of most rural areas without easy access to pharmacies.
The federal government has made a deal with retail pharmacies CVS and Walgreens to help distribute coronavirus vaccine — once one or more gets authorized — to long-term care facilities like nursing homes, federal officials say https://t.co/QTc40xgRwI
— CNN Business (@CNNBusiness) October 17, 2020
“Protecting the vulnerable has been the number one priority of the Trump Administration’s response to COVID-19,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar stated. “That commitment will continue through distributing a safe and effective vaccine earliest to those who need it most.”
CDC deputy director for infectious disease, Dr. Jay Butler, estimated that there are about 15,000 long-term care facilities and 35,000 assisted living facilities in the country. He also noted that a third of the COVID-19 fatalities are from long-term care facilities.
Butler said: “We believe that this plan will be the quickest and easiest way to provide vaccines to long-term care facility residents.”
In a briefing, deputy chief of staff for policy at the HHS, Paul Mango, said that CVS and Walgreens are perfect for deploying mobile units in vaccinating vulnerable people, like seniors. Particularly, according to the HHS’s website, the drugstores will receive and manage the vaccine and supplies, like PPEs and syringe). The pharmacies will also have to administer the on-site vaccination. CVS and Walgreens will also take care of how to charge insurers. It is so that qualifying members can access the vaccination program for free.
“Ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly among our most vulnerable populations, will be critical to saving lives and helping our nation recover from the pandemic,” Walgreens president John Standley said.
Meanwhile, CVS chief medical officer Troy Brennan stated: “CVS Health has been on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, working across the healthcare spectrum in all the communities we serve. And that will continue to be the case when we have a vaccine to dispense.”