Biden Announces Direct Shipments Of Vaccines To Pharmacies

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(WAB NEWS) – The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it will begin direct shipments of vaccines to retail pharmacies next week, expanding access points for Americans to receive vaccines as concerns about coronavirus variants expand.

“Millions of Americans go to their local pharmacies every day for their medications, flu shots and much more. And pharmacies are easily accessible in most communities, and most Americans live within a few miles of a pharmacy, ”White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients told a briefing.

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The program, which will begin rolling out on February 11, will begin at about 6,500 stores that will receive a total of 1 million doses before finally expanding, Zients said.

The administration also announced that it is increasing the weekly allocation of vaccines going to states, tribes and territories by an additional 5%, bringing the weekly total of vaccines purchased per week to a low of 10.5 million.

And Zients said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would fully reimburse states for eligible services they have provided since the start of the pandemic in January 2020. Refunds will include personal protective equipment and the mobilization of the National Guard, Zients said, estimating the price to be between $ 3 billion and $ 5 billion.

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In her briefing, Zients tried to manage expectations for the pharmacy launch. He said that both vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna are increasing production to provide the additional doses.

“In the initial phase, many pharmacies across the country will not have vaccines or may have a very limited supply,” he said.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with states to select pharmacy sites, which will take into account “their ability to reach some of the populations most at risk of severe disease from covid- 19, including socially vulnerable communities, ”said Zients.

Administration officials briefed representatives of major pharmacy chains on Tuesday before announcing the plan publicly.

The White House listed 21 national pharmacy chains that will participate in the initial phase of the program, including Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid.

The plan to expand the availability of vaccines in pharmacies has been in the works for a long time and was also a key component in the distribution plan of the former Trump administration. In some states, like Maryland, those plans are in place and pharmacies have already started distributing vaccines.

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