HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is coordinating with Walgreens and CVS pharmacies to administer on-site vaccinations for long-term facilities and nursing homes.
This is the next step in the national roll-out for the United States first vaccine.
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Kevin Warren, President and CEO of the Texas Health Care Association, said it's vital for people working and living in these facilities to get the first round of vaccines.
"Particularly, when you look at the impact that there's been, just in Texas, we've had, unfortunately, over 6,000 deaths now reported as a result of COVID-19 in long-term care," Warren said. "We've had over 23,000 staff that have been affected by it. Over 90% of the facilities have had at least one case. When you look at just the high-risk nature of this and the effect that this has had on the elderly it's extremely important that they are in the top tier for the administration of the vaccine."
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According to a CVS spokesperson, CVS pharmacists will be visiting the facilities to administer the vaccine and it will consist of three visits, which will be three weeks apart for the Pfizer vaccine. For the Moderna vaccine, vaccinations will be done four weeks apart. More than 40,000 facilities have signed up to have CVS Pharmacy as its provider.
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A Walgreens Corporate Spokesperson sent the following statement to ABC13 regarding the next steps in the process:
"Walgreens is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS] and the administration in support of Operation Warp Speed to help administer COVID-19 vaccines, once available, to high priority groups, including long-term care facility residents and staff and health care workers. We will be collaborating with approximately 35,000 long-term care facilities across the nation that have selected Walgreens as their vaccine provider. Walgreens has the pharmacist expertise, data and reporting infrastructure, cold storage capacity and nationwide footprint required to manage the complexities of administering a COVID-19 vaccine. We will be administering all FDA-approved vaccines, as determined by federal and state local governments. We're not able to provide state-specific details at this time but will share more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, you can find additional information on how Walgreens is supporting COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration here."
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The list of local facilities was not readily available. However, the pharmacies are expected to start the rollout process as soon as Monday, Dec. 21, then start the vaccination process the following week.
"While they are administering the vaccine for residents and staff, the community still has not been vaccinated at this point," Warren said. "So we still have to maintain vigilance to ensure that it doesn't get into the facility and if it is in the facility doing everything necessary to get it out.
CVS also sent the following statement about the next process of the COVID-19 vaccine:
"We'll be ready to administer COVID-19 vaccines in long-term care facilities based on anticipated emergency use authorization for one or more vaccine candidates; more than 40,000 facilities have selected CVS as their vaccination partner. The national rollout of our COVID-19 vaccination effort in long-term care facilities will begin on Dec. 21. On Dec. 18, CVS Pharmacy teams will administer vaccines in a handful of facilities in Connecticut and Ohio. It's important to remember that we run seasonal flu clinics in thousands of these locations every year, which means our health care professionals are very familiar with this population.
When vaccines are available for wider distribution, we'll offer them at all of our CVS Pharmacy locations, and will have the capacity to administer 20 to 25 million shots every month. Our experience providing vaccinations in a retail setting will be key - this year we'll administer nearly 20 million immunizations [including flu shots] - and we'll apply learnings from our massive COVID-19 testing operation. These include safety measures and cleaning protocols, as well as utilizing a seamless digital experience that will allow people to book their appointments and receive important reminders. Bottom line, we're prepared to play a critical role in the vaccination process utilizing our vast experience and army of trained health care professionals."
Plans revealed by two of the largest pharmacies in the U.S. emerge as the White House's top science adviser in the vaccine effort estimated 100 million seniors should get inoculated by March.
Moncef Slaoui told CNBC that people who are 65 years old and older and live independently should also set up February vaccine appointments with either Walgreens or CVS.
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Nursing homes expecting COVID-19 vaccine delivery through CVS and Walgreens
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