CVS bringing COVID vaccines to long-term care residents next week

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Statewide, almost 60,000 COVID-19 cases and 7,560 deaths have been confirmed among staff and residents of long-term care facilities, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The deaths there have accounted for roughly half of the state’s total of more than 15,000.

Illinois opted into the pharmacy program, which is administered by the federal government, said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, state Department of Public Health director. Walgreens also plans to start administering COVID-19 vaccines at Illinois long-term care facilities before the new year. 

Illinois is among the second wave of states where CVS teams will start inoculations in long-term care facilities. It plans to administer the first doses in 12 states this week, according to a statement from the Rhode Island-based company.

“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 Merlo, president and CEO of CVS Health, in the statement. “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.”

CVS teams will start with administration of the Pfizer vaccine. Moderna’s vaccine received emergency authorization Dec. 18. Gov. J.B. Pritzker said late last week that Illinois hospitals could start receiving shipments of Moderna’s vaccine early this week. 

Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses. CVS’ healthcare professionals plan to make three visits to each long-term care facility, delivering the initial shot and booster. The chain expects the majority of residents and staff to be fully vaccinated four weeks after the first visit.

The company plans to complete its long-term care shots in all states in about three months.

Walgreens gave its first COVID-19 shots at facilities in Ohio and Connecticut on Dec. 18. Eventually, both retail pharmacy chains plan to offer COVID-19 vaccinations to the general public—in the spring, they predict—though plans remain tentative, as distribution is not yet widespread. CVS has 10,000 pharmacy U.S. locations, with 986 in Illinois; Walgreens has 9,000 locations nationwide, 574 of them in Illinois. 

CVS Pharmacy says it will be able to administer 20 million to 25 million shots per month, with plans to offer the vaccines at all of its U.S. retail locations by appointment only.

The first vaccines in Chicago were given last week. Front-line health care workers will be prioritized initially. Pritzker said the state will likely receive fewer doses than it originally expected, which could lead to some delays. 

via Crain’s Chicago Business

December 21, 2020 at 06:30AM

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