The partnership aligns with Operation Warp Speed’s goal to protect the most vulnerable to COVID-19.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DOD) today announced a new agreement with CVS and Walgreens to provide and administer coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines to residents of long-term care facilities (LTCF) nationwide.
The agreements aim to keep in line with the Trump Administration’s goals for Operation Warp Speed (OWS), which included protecting the most vulnerable individuals in the United States amid the COVID-19 pandemic; LTCF residents may be prioritized once a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available for distribution, according to the DOD.
“Protecting the vulnerable has been the number one priority of the Trump Administration’s response to COVID-19, and that commitment will continue through distributing a safe and effective vaccine earliest to those who need it most,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar, MD. “Our unprecedented public-private partnership with CVS and Walgreens will provide convenient and free vaccination to residents of nursing homes across America, another historic achievement in our efforts to get a safe and effective vaccine to Americans as fast as possible.”
Management of the government-pharmacy partnership will be led by the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program, which will ensure to minimize the burden on LTCFs as well as jurisdictional health departments in charge of handling and distributing COVID-19 vaccines.
According to the DOD news release, the program will be free of charge to LTCFs and will be offered in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential care home, and adult family homes, where all staff members will also have the option to be vaccinated.
According to the DOD, CVS and Walgreens will handle scheduling of on-site clinic dates with each facility directly in order to ensure that residents and staff are able to receive both vaccine doses (if indicated). The pharmacies are also responsible for managing vaccines and the necessary supplies, as well as reporting required vaccination data, which will be sent to local, state, and/or territorial, as well as federal public health authorities within 72 hours of administering each dose.
“CVS Health has been on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, working across the health care spectrum in all the communities we serve and that will continue to be the case when we have a vaccine to dispense,” said Troy Brennan, chief medical officer, CVS Health.
Beginning on October 19, LTCFs will be able to choose whether to participate in the program and which pharmacy the facility prefers to partner with. Both HHS and OWS will be accessible to jurisdictions and LTCFs in order to continue to pursue safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine administration and reduce COVID-19-related illness, hospitalizations, and deaths.
OWS has asserted that 1 or more COVID-19 vaccines will be available for distribution in the US before 2021.
“Ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly among our most vulnerable populations, will be critical to saving lives and helping our nation recover from the pandemic,” said John Standley, Walgreens president.
“Since the onset of the pandemic, Walgreens has worked closely with the CDC, HHS and the Administration to help accelerate the availability of COVID tests, ensure access to essential medicines and products and serve as a safe and trusted source of information in our communities. We are proud of how our pharmacists have continued to serve our patients and look forward to leveraging our nationwide footprint, community presence and pharmacist expertise to help administer COVID-19 vaccines, once they become available.”