California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that CVS and Walgreens will administer the Pfizer vaccine to state residents and staff in long-term care facilities under the federal COVID-19 Pharmacy Partnership.
According to a press release from Newsom’s office, the program entails delivering the Pfizer vaccine and associated supplies to CVS and Walgreens locations at no cost to the state or local government. Starting Monday, CVS and Walgreens pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurses will administer the vaccine by directly visiting long-term care facilities multiple times.
“Vaccinating those most vulnerable among us is critical to fighting this virus,” Newsom said in the press release. “By leveraging CVS and Walgreens resources, we can effectively deploy vaccines to residents and staff at our long-term care facilities, which are at higher risk of Covid transmission.”
Nursing homes will receive the vaccine first, with approximately 499 in California receiving it from CVS and 357 receiving it from Walgreens, according to the press release. This process will take approximately three to four weeks. Other long-term care facilities will receive the vaccine after.
Elmwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Berkeley, has partnered with Walgreens and is expected to receive the first dosage of the vaccine in the next two weeks and the second dosage three weeks later, according to receptionist Olivia Montijo.
She added that receiving the vaccine is optional but highly encouraged for residents and staff.
Angels Windsor House, a senior living facility in Berkeley, has partnered with CVS to receive the vaccine after nursing homes, according to caregiver Mae Sison. While there is no set date for receiving the first dosage, Sison said staff are currently preparing an area within the facility for the vaccine to be administered.
“It is important and extremely recommended for our residents and staff to receive the vaccine,” Sison said. “Aside from that, being in this program allows us to update residents’ families and give them peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are already lined up for a vaccine.”
After 12 weeks of administering the vaccine to long-term care facilities, CVS spokesperson Monica Prinzing said in an email that the program will allow nearly 10,000 CVS locations nationwide to administer vaccines to the general public. CVS will have the capacity to administer 20 to 25 million vaccines per month as early as March, according to Prinzing. Each state will determine which groups have priority access to the vaccine at CVS locations, she adds.
“The eventual availability of COVID-19 vaccines in communities across the country will bring us one step closer to overcoming the most significant health challenge of our lifetime,” said Karen Lynch, executive vice president of CVS Health and president of Aetna healthcare company, in a CVS press release.