COVID-19 vaccines in retail pharmacies

In early February, the Biden administration announced the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccinations to increase access to vaccines across the country. Here’s what you need to know:

What is the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccinations?
This program is a collaboration between the federal government, states and territories, national pharmacy partners, and independent pharmacy networks that have come together to increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Under this program, the federal government will send a certain amount of the vaccines it has delegated to each state directly to retail pharmacies for distribution.

Which retail pharmacies will have COVID-19 vaccines?
21 national pharmacy chains and independent pharmacy networks, representing over 40,000 retail and long-term care pharmacy locations nationwide, are participating in this program. However, which stores offer the vaccine may vary by state.

How many vaccines will be sent to retail pharmacies?
Weekly vaccine allocations are based on availability, with the majority of each location’s supply being determined proportionally to community population, among other factors. Between when the program began and April 1, pharmacy partners had administered more than 26 million doses.

Who is eligible to receive vaccines at retail pharmacies?
Retail pharmacies will follow state guidelines for vaccine eligibility.

How can I get a vaccine at a retail pharmacy?
Most chains are offering booking and/or scheduling tools on their websites.

Anyone who is eligible to receive a vaccine can also call their local pharmacy to see if they have it available. The CDC has also created a website that lists the participating pharmacy partners by state.

At Abarca, we know firsthand the critical role that pharmacies play in member health—and the work that they have done to combat COVID-19 is just the latest example. We are extremely proud of and grateful for, the pharmacists at the frontlines who are making the vaccine rollout possible. And we will continue to provide support in any way that we can.

This blog was written by Ana M. Rivera, PharmD, Clinical Programs Manager at Abarca.

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