CVS announced Monday that it has formally launched its program to administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff of long-term care facilities and will begin its efforts in Virginia on December 28th, according to a press release.
The company said that its teams will start administering doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week across 12 states – including Ohio, Connecticut, Florida and Oregon, among others – and expects to vaccinate a total of four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities through the program.
The Virginia Star reached out to the Virginia Department of Health and CVS Health to see how many facilities in Virginia will be visited by CVS teams, but did not get responses before press time.
According to NBC 12, CVS teams will be administering vaccines at 874 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Virginia.
“Today’s rollout is the culmination of months of internal planning and demonstrates how the private sector can use its expertise to help solve some of our most critical challenges,” said Larry J. Merlo, president and chief executive officer of CVS Health. “I’m grateful for the herculean efforts of everyone involved, including our health care professionals who will be deployed throughout the country to bring peace of mind to long-term care facility residents, staff, and their loved ones.”
Back in mid-October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense announced agreements with CVS and Walgreen to vaccinate long-term care facilities residents and staff nationwide.
Walgreens put out a similar release on Friday, stating that vaccinations for the priority group were beginning the same day at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Ohio and Connecticut, and then expanding to 12 states this week, but did not offer a specific list.
CVS said its pharmacy teams will make three visits to each facility to make sure that residents and staff receive the initial shot and then the booster, and the majority of that group will be fully vaccinated three to four weeks after the first visit, depending on which vaccine is given, according to the release.
The company also estimates that its entire vaccination effort will be finished in roughly 12 weeks.
“Vaccinating one of our most vulnerable populations is the latest milestone in our multifaceted pandemic response, which includes testing more than 10 million people for the virus since March,” said Karen S. Lynch, executive vice president of CVS Health and President of Aetna. “The eventual availability of COVID-19 vaccines in communities across the country will bring us one step closer to overcoming the most significant health challenge of our lifetime.”
Like many other states, Virginia will also be using CVS and Walgreens pharmacy teams to vaccinate the long-term care facility residents and staff.
Under the first phase of the state’s plan, front-line healthcare workers who are treating COVID patients will receive the initial vaccinations and then, as the state gets more shipments, CVS and Walgreens teams will be administering vaccines to the care facilities residents and staff.
Overall, CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacy chains ability to safely vaccinate people will be vital to Virginia’s efforts. In the second and third phases of the plan, pharmacies will have part of the responsibility for administering vaccinations to essential workers, vulnerable populations and the general public.
In the release, CVS said its pharmacies will be able to provide 20 to 25 million shots per month once the supply of vaccines increases and becomes more widely available.
Last week, the months-long mass vaccination process finally started in Virginia.
On Monday and Tuesday, Hospitals throughout the Commonwealth, including two in Richmond, began receiving their first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine and by now hundreds of healthcare workers have already been vaccinated.
Later in the week, the Virginia Department of Health announced that the state will be getting almost 110,000 fewer vaccine doses in December than originally anticipated, but that an order for 146,400 doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine has already been placed, which received emergency-use approval on Friday.
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