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Here's How Pharmacy Chains Plan To Receive And Rollout COVID-19 Vaccines

A Walgreens curbside pickup sign stands adjacent to the company's drive-thru pharmacy in Encinitas, Jan. 13, 2020.
Jacob Aere
A Walgreens curbside pickup sign stands adjacent to the company's drive-thru pharmacy in Encinitas, Jan. 13, 2020.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) is eager to get vaccines into 40,000 pharmacy locations across the United States.

NACDS Senior Vice President Kathleen Jaeger said a group of 19 pharmacy chains across the U.S. could start to receive some quantity of COVID-19 vaccines at their brick and mortar locations starting Thursday.

Here's How Pharmacy Chains Plan To Receive And Rollout COVID-19 Vaccines
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

For the time being, Jaeger said an appointment system will be used by many pharmacies as they receive vaccine allocations. This approach provides older Americans, and those at the highest risk for COVID-19, the opportunity to social distance and do most of the paperwork, like written consent, online.

NACDS President and CEO Steven Anderson said effective vaccine rollout is dependent on each organization's help as 90% of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy.

“Based on conservative assumptions, pharmacies have the capacity to meet the demand for 100 million vaccine doses in just one month when that level of the vaccine supply is available,” Anderson said.

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Pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS are currently providing the first phase of vaccines at long-term care facilities, while health care workers are also being vaccinated as part of Phase 1A.

“Pharmacies that are participating with the state will receive their notice and their first allocation of the transfer of the vaccine from that state. Moving forward transfers can occur each week with the transfer occurring at pharmacies on Thursday moving forward," Jaeger said.

To ensure proper tracking of the COVID-19 vaccines, pharmacies will have between 24 to 72 hours to upload vaccine supply and administration data, depending on their state.

“The orders are going through the v-track system by CDC and actually the states and the pharmacies are all working together to get the populations vaccinated,” Jaeger said. “And all the orders that are going through that system are actually reviewed and approved by Operation Warpspeed.”

VIDEO: Pharmacies Plan For Receiving COVID-19 Vaccines

Next week, California will be rolling out a new system for people to register for notifications regarding vaccine eligibility. And the state just approved anyone 65 or older to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

In order to properly vaccinate at pharmacies, supplies need to increase. That may happen around the beginning of February if the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot receives emergency-use authorization.

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