A customer wearing a face mask leaves a Walgreens pharmacy in South Beach on April 14, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Cliff Hawkins | Getty Images
The Trump administration announced Wednesday that a program that will allow CVS Health and Walgreens to administer coronavirus vaccines to seniors in long-term care facilities is "hugely receiving".
Minister of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said 99% of qualified care facilities across the country have signed up for the program, which is providing Covid-19 vaccines to seniors free of charge and making them available to residents in all long-term care facilities stands including qualified care facilities, assisted living facilities, nursing homes and adult family homes. He said 100% of the facilities are enrolled in 20 states.
"By using pharmacy networks, we can expand access beyond single pharmacies as pharmacists, pharmacy interns, and pharmacy technicians also offer vaccinations in places like grocery stores," Azar said during a press conference on the Trump administration's vaccination program, Operation Warp-Speed. "The ultimate goal here is to get a Covid-19 vaccine as conveniently as getting a flu shot."
Azar's comments come hours after Pfizer announced that it would seek emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration in the coming days after final data analysis showed the vaccine is highly effective, safe and appears to prevent serious illness. If approved, the vaccine will likely be released in phases, with health care workers and vulnerable Americans like the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions being given it first.
The Trump administration first announced the program in October with CVS and Walgreens. Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said at the time that the program would ensure that nursing homes badly hit by the virus are "on the front lines for the Covid vaccine and their grueling study ahead Court will bring a degree asap. "
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are approximately 15,000 long-term care facilities in the United States, plus an additional 35,000 assisted living facilities. According to US health officials, 9,000 to 10,000 facilities had already chosen the program by the end of October.
The program is optional and facilities can enroll in the program through the CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network. If a facility chooses not to enroll, they have the option of administering vaccines through other sources, including local pharmacies.