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Walgreens, CVS ready to administer COVID-19 vaccine

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Over the next several days and weeks, pharmacies will start to receive the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

They’ll play a big role in administering the shots to those in long-term care facilities.

“We feel very comfortable about our staffing model, this is not something that’s new to us,” Dr. Kevin Ban said.

Touting years of experience administering vaccines to the public, Walgreens Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Ban says they’re ready to start vaccinating as soon as they receive their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

“The states are the ones who are responsible for allocating that vaccine so they will be giving us the vaccine as soon as they receive them and then we can then enter these long-term care facilities,” Ban said.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, both Walgreens and CVS have been working with the CDC and HHS to develop distribution plans. 

They should start giving their first doses to those included in Phase 1 as early as next week and by spring, both say they’ll be ready to start administering to the general public. 

“We think we are able to get through the vaccination of that first phase by end of February, early March. And then we can start vaccinating the American population by late march early April,” Ban said.

In a statement, CVS says, ‘when vaccines are available for wider distribution they’ll offer them at all CVS Pharmacy locations and have the capacity to administer 20-25 million shots every month.’

Both CVS and Walgreens say because they conduct thousands of seasonal flu clinics every year, they already have infrastructure and technology in place.

They’ll rely heavily on the public making appointments for the vaccine either online or through their apps. 

“It’s important to remember, this is not like turning on a light switch, this is a dimmer switch and as we get more product we’re going to be able to make it available to people across the country,” Ban said.

The general public can’t make appointments for their vaccine just yet — both pharmacies say those functions will be available as soon as they get confirmation about who is included in Phase 2.

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