The administration of the first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine doses will be completed by January 25, according to a press release by Walgreens. The company began administering COVID-19 vaccines to residents and staff at long-term care (LTC) facilities in late December as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program.

“Since receiving our first allotments of vaccines in late December, Walgreens has remained on track in vaccinating our most vulnerable populations and we are steadfast in our commitment to continuing to accelerate access to COVID-19 vaccines as we receive additional guidance from state governments and jurisdictions,” said John Standley, president of Walgreens, in a press release. “Walgreens takes immense pride in being a part of protecting our communities from COVID and helping the country take this first step toward emerging from this pandemic.”

Walgreens’ current vaccination efforts have been active across 49 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico, with activation dates and prioritization schedules for LTC facilities set by each state. In accordance with state and federal guidances, Walgreens first provided COVID-19 vaccination clinics to skilled nursing facilities.

Now, the company is expanding to assisted living and other types of facilities. Going forward, the company will continue to partner with states and jurisdictions to provide vaccinations to the residents and staff of LTC facilities at approximately 35,000 facilities across the country.

States are still in the process of finalizing phase 1b/c plans to administer COVID-19 vaccines to other vulnerable populations, such as essential workers and people aged 75 years and older. Walgreens noted that they will continue to assist states during these plans, with access to COVID-19 vaccines available in all of the company’s 9000 store locations upon the availability of mass vaccine administration for the public.

“Walgreens pharmacy team members are embedded in communities and have more than a decade of experience providing immunizations,” Standley said in the press release. “They will continue to play a critical role in educating patients and supporting the administration of vaccines, including in rural and underserved communities.”

Walgreens also noted the importance of equity in vaccine access across the country, as providing COVID-19 vaccines to underserved and rural areas is critical due to the disproportionate impact of disease in these communities. The company explained in the press release that 80% of the US population lives within 5 miles of a Walgreens pharmacy, making their pharmacies a beneficial access point for these areas.

The company also explained that through the use of mobile and off-site clinics, they plan to ensure that those communities not within close proximity to a Walgreens pharmacy will also have access to COVID-19 vaccines. During the pandemic, Walgreens has also made efforts to have COVID-19 testing sites in these underserved areas, with 70% of testing sites located in socially vulnerable areas.

Additionally, the company implemented off-site clinics and voucher programs to support access to flu vaccinations in underserved areas in order to support these communities. 

REFERENCE
Walgreens Expects to Complete Administration of COVID-19 Vaccine First Doses in Skilled Nursing Facilities by January 25. Deerfield, IL: Walgreens; January 6, 2020. businesswire.com/news/home/20210106005543/en. Accessed January 6, 2020.