CVS Pharmacy to administer COVID-19 vaccine in Bay Area

CVS Pharmacy Begins Administering COVID-19 Vaccines on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Fall River, Mass. (Scott Eisen/CVS Health via AP Images)
Scott Eisen/CVS Health/Courtesy
According to CVS Health spokesperson Monica Prinzing, the COVID-19 vaccines will be free for all patients, regardless of whether or not they have insurance. The vaccine will be available in various locations such as Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco and will be conducted by pharmacists and other health care professionals.

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CVS Pharmacy began administering the COVID-19 vaccine Friday to eligible populations across 11 states, including California, as part of the Federal Pharmacy Partnership. 

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program consists of 19 national and regional pharmacy chains, with two to three pharmacy partners currently activated in each state. The vaccine is available at select CVS locations across the Bay Area, including Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco, according to CVS Health spokesperson Joe Goode.

“CVS Health is uniquely positioned to play a prominent role in administering COVID-19 vaccinations across the country,” Goode said in an email. “One of our greatest strengths is our presence in communities across the country, making us an ideal partner for administering vaccines in a safe, convenient, and familiar manner.”

Vaccines at participating CVS Pharmacy locations will be available to individuals who fall into state criteria, Goode said in his email. In California, health care workers and those who are 65 and older are currently eligible for receiving the vaccine.

Goode added that walk-in vaccinations will not be provided. Eligible individuals must schedule an appointment on the CVS website, through the pharmacy app or by contacting customer service.

“As part of the scheduling process on CVS.com, patients are asked to attest that all information provided during appointment set up is truthful and accurate,” said CVS Health spokesperson Monica Prinzing in an email. “Some states will also require the collection of IDs to verify eligibility and we are complying with that requirement.”

Vaccinations will be provided by pharmacists, pharmacy interns, trained pharmacy technicians and other qualified health care professionals as per state regulations, according to the CVS website. Those administering the vaccine have been certified by company requirements and are trained in immunization administration.

Additionally, vaccines are free for all patients, including those who are uninsured. Prinzing noted that insurance providers will be reimbursed for administering vaccinations for patients with insurance, and vaccinations to uninsured patients will be paid for by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration program.

CVS locations in California will receive approximately 82,000 doses of the vaccine every week, according to Prinzing. CVS hopes to expand to more locations as the federal government provides a greater supply of vaccines.

While subject to product availability, CVS Pharmacy will be able to administer 20 million to 25 million shots every month at full operational capacity, according to Prinzing.

“Our army of trained and state-certified health care professionals are proud to be among the thousands of CVS Health professionals across the country helping to vaccinate their neighbors against COVID-19, bringing peace of mind to patients, loved ones and the larger community,” Prinzing said in her email.

In addition to offering the COVID-19 vaccine at local pharmacies and larger health care providers, the city of Berkeley opened up its first mass vaccination site at Golden Gates Fields racetrack Feb. 3.

Drive-through vaccination appointments are currently available for health care workers and for those 65 and older. Vaccines are free for all residents, but those with insurance must provide their insurance information, according to a city press release.

Contact Serene Chang at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @_serenechang .