NACDS provides update on chain pharmacy vaccine distribution plan
JACKSON, Tenn. — A pharmacy near you could be getting the COVID-19 vaccine soon.
A new program, authorized by President Biden’s administration, is seeking to bring the vaccines into communities across the country with the help of local pharmacies.
“There’s more value in reassuring those who are reluctant that they can receive the vaccine in other healthcare services from a healthcare provider they know and trust,” said Christie Boutte, senior vice president of state strategic affairs and advocacy with the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.
It’s called the Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program, and it’s launching February 11. It includes partnerships with pharmacy chains all across the nation, but officials warn the first batch vaccines won’t be much.
“Again, it’s very limited supply coming through the program. The program for the first week is going to get one million doses,” said Kathleen Jaeger, senior vice president of pharmacy care and advocacy for NACDS.
In Tennessee, just one pharmacy provider is currently partnering with the program: Walmart.
The company confirmed earlier this week that there are just three participating Walmart pharmacies in West Tennessee, with locations in Dyersburg, Bolivar and Brownsville.
As the program gets more vaccines, they expect the number of participating locations will grow.
“6,500 stores and one million doses at first, and the potential is 40,000 stores,” said Steven Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS.
“Pharmacies that were selected to begin with, they actually had the largest footprint in that area that had those that are most socially vulnerable to COVID,” Jaeger said.
Vaccine sign ups will be on the company’s websites, and officials are confident that the infrastructure in place for those sign ups will hold.
“You can go online and determine if you are actually eligible for your jurisdiction, and then you move into, if you are eligible in your state and local jurisdiction, then you’re allowed to go into the calendar and make your own appointments,” Jaeger said.
For a full list of participating Walmart stores, click here.