Biden Administration Launches Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccine Administration

The participating national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks represent more than 40,000 pharmacy locations and is a key component of the administration’s national strategy to expand access to vaccines.

The Biden administration has announced the initial launch of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination, a public-private partnership with 21 national pharmacy partners and networks of independent pharmacies.1

According to a press release, new steps will be taken to improve vaccine access, including increased supply to states, Tribes, and territories, and increasing funding to jurisdictions to help administer vaccines. The new steps are intended to help meet President Biden’s goal of administering 100 million shots during his first 100 days in office.1

Beginning on February 11, the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program will give eligible individuals the chance to be vaccinated at select pharmacies across the country. The participating national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks represent more than 40,000 pharmacy locations and is a key component of the administration’s national strategy to expand access to vaccines.1

“Millions of Americans turn to their local pharmacies every day for their medicines, flu shots, and much more,” said White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients, in a press briefing. “Pharmacies are readily accessible in most communities, with most Americans living within 5 miles of a pharmacy. That’s why we’re pleased to announce our first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 vaccinations.”2

As the program launches, select retail pharmacies will receive limited vaccine supplies in order to vaccinate priority groups at no cost. Initial pharmacy partners were selected by the CDC and states based on several factors, including their ability to reach populations at the greatest risk for severe COVID-19. Participating partners include Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Walmart, Rite Aid, Kroger pharmacies, Publix pharmacies, Costco pharmacies, Albertsons, Hy-Vee, Meijer, H-E-B, Retail Business Services LLC, and Winn-Dixie stores.1

Participating network administrators include Topco Associations LLC, Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network USA, GeriMed, Good Neighbor Pharmacy, Health Mart Systems, Innovatix, LeaderNET and Medicine Shoppe, and Managed Health Care Associates. According to the press release, patients should check their pharmacy’s website to find out whether vaccines are available, as supplies will be limited in the initial phase.1

The Biden administration has also announced an increase in overall weekly vaccine supply to states, Tribes, and territories. The supply will increase to 10.5 million doses nationwide beginning the week of February 1, a 22% increase since January 20. The press release said the administration is committed to maintaining this as the minimum supply level for the next 3 weeks and will continue to work with manufacturers in their efforts to increase supply.1

REFERENCES

  • FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Increased Vaccine Supply, Initial Launch of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, and Expansion of FEMA Reimbursement to States [news release]. White House; February 2, 202 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/02/02/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-increased-vaccine-supply-initial-launch-of-the-federal-retail-pharmacy-program-and-expansion-of-fema-reimbursement-to-states/. Accessed February 2, 202
  • White House Press Briefings Live Stream; February 2, 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/live/. Accessed February 2, 2021.