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Pharmacy chains want to help as nation struggles to vaccinate people

January 14, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 66.9%. 2 min read.

The US may be struggling to vaccinate citizens against coronavirus, but pharmacy chains say they can help speed up the balky rollout.

(CNN)The US may be struggling to vaccinate citizens against coronavirus, but pharmacy chains say they can help speed up the balky rollout.

Pharmacists nationwide will have the capacity to administer 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine once supply is available, Steven Anderson, president and CEO of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores said Wednesday.

"Based on conservative assumptions, pharmacies have the capacity to meet the demand for 100 million vaccine doses in one month when that level of the vaccine supply is available," Anderson told reporters on a phone call Wednesday.

So far, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US has vaccinated only about 10 million people, and distributed just over 29 million doses of vaccine.

The group says 90% of Americans live within five miles of a retail drug store and the "dormant" Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program could open the door to harnessing the capacity of chain pharmacies.

"America's retail pharmacies can easily administer 100 million vaccine doses in 30 days," the group said in a statement.

Walgreens expects to administer 30 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine in the US by the end of this summer, once vaccines are available to the wider population.

By the end of this summer, Gourlay estimated, 300 million doses of vaccine will have been administered across the country -- enough to vaccinate 150 million people -- and retail pharmacies will administer about 100 million of those doses.

CVS has even more ambitious plans to administer 100 million doses.

"We're very hopeful that the federal program will open up soon and open a more direct distribution into pharmacies across the country, which will open up access," CVS Executive Vice President Karen Lynch told the JP Morgan Health Conference.

Lynch said CVS currently has the ability to administer 25 million vaccinations a month, or roughly a million a day, through its retail locations across the country.

In this early phase of the vaccine rollout, CVS has been administering vaccines inside long-term care facilities after states allocate the doses under contract with the federal government.

Lynch said the pharmacy chain is just coming up on 1 million vaccines administered this week in long-term care facilities.

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