Pharmacies take the reins in massive COVID vaccine mission
A long-awaited moment came to fruition on Monday as residents of the Hebrew Home at Riverdale received Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, administered by Walgreens pharmacists.
It was part of a federal program that will see Walgreens, CVS and other pharmacies at over 120 nursing homes the five boroughs and more than 600 throughout the state.
Walgreens Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Ban referred to the first vaccinations of at-risk populations and essential workers “phase one” which could last until the end of March. He says he expects the general population to start to receive the vaccine in the beginning of April.
Walgreens says when the vaccines are available for the general public, they will be available to administer it at their pharmacies, but an appointment will be needed.
“We have to remember that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and we want to make sure that we don’t have too many people congregating at once,” says Dr. Ban.
CVS pharmacies are doing the same. They sent a statement to News 12 that said in part:
“Vaccines in our pharmacies will be offered on an appointment-only basis…and there will be a dedicated 800 number for people without online access.”
Walgreens says making sure the vaccine is accessible in underserved communities is a top priority.
“More than 80% of the American population live within 5 miles of a Walgreens. That’s not enough. We will have mobile clinics, offsite clinics in churches, community centers,” says Dr. Ban.
He says when it comes to the second Pfizer dose, they will remind people to get it with e-mails, texts, even phone calls.
The federal government is paying for the vaccines.