Administration partners with pharmacies to increase access to future COVID-19 vaccines

HHS announced Thursday the U.S. government is partnering with large chain pharmacies and networks representing independent and chain pharmacies to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines when they are made available. The program will cover about 60% of pharmacies throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S.

HHS announced Thursday the U.S. government is partnering with large chain pharmacies and networks representing independent and chain pharmacies to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines when they are made available. The program will cover about 60% of pharmacies throughout the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. "The vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are available," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. In a statement, HHS said that "pharmacy vaccinators are crucial public health partners for increasing access and convenience of COVID-19 vaccines," noting that pharmacists "are also a trusted health resource in their communities, and have played a vital role in the public health response to COVID-19 by counseling patients, expanding access to childhood vaccinations during the pandemic, and ordering and administering COVID-19 tests." The vaccines will be administered at partners' pharmacy locations at no cost to patients. Pharmacies that do not participate in the federal allocation program are encouraged to coordinate with their jurisdiction's health department to become COVID-19 vaccine providers.