The Biden administration has announced that it will begin shipping COVID-19 vaccines directly to 21 of the nation’s pharmacies (a group of 6,500 stores) beginning February 11.
"This will provide more sites for people to get vaccinated in their communities, and it's an important component to delivering vaccines equitably," Jeffrey Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said during a media briefing Tuesday.
The first stores to be sent vaccine doses will be located in areas where residents have been hit hardest by the pandemic, according to the Washington Post. The idea behind sending vaccines straight to pharmacies is rooted in the belief that pharmacies may be more familiar and easier to navigate than websites run by public health departments, especially for older Americans.
"This pharmacy program will expand access in neighborhoods across the country so you can make an appointment and get your shot conveniently and quickly,” Zients said.
Getting vaccines to more Americans
Initially, many pharmacies will not have or will have “very limited supply” of vaccines, Zients said. But eventually, 40,000 locations will get the vaccines. He didn’t provide a timeline for when the pharmacy program would be widened to include that many locations.
During the first phase of the pharmacy program, one million doses will be sent to pharmacies in locations where residents have had the highest prevalence of severe illness and death from COVID-19.
“We are doing everything we can to effectively vaccinate individuals across the country,” Zients said.