CVS Health has administered the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 8,000 skilled nursing facilities across the country, delivering on goals established early in the process and communicated to participating states and jurisdictions months ago. Administration of second doses is well underway and expected to be complete within four weeks.
“We’ve administered nearly two million shots to one of our most vulnerable populations through onsite and, in many cases, room-to-room visits,” said Karen S. Lynch, currently Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, Aetna, who will become the company’s next President and CEO on February 1. “Our dedicated health care professionals are reaching long-term care residents and staff as soon as possible based on activation dates selected by the states, while navigating the challenges of a complex rollout.”
The federal pharmacy partnership program divided long-term care facilities into two categories: 1) skilled nursing, and 2) assisted living and other facilities. For the latter, first doses of COVID-19 vaccines are complete in several states that selected December activation dates including Arkansas, Hawaii, and New Mexico.1 As made clear by regularly updated data CVS Health makes publicly available, most states chose activation dates for assisted living and other facilities – meaning, when CVS Pharmacy teams could first visit – well into January:
- January 4: Colorado, Connecticut, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
- January 11: California, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Vermont, Virginia
- January 13: Tennessee
- January 15: Alabama
- January 18: Arizona, Indiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania (excluding Philadelphia, with a start date of January 25), Rhode Island
- January 23: Maryland
- January 25: Illinois (excluding Chicago, with a start date of December 28, 2020), Wisconsin
First doses at all long-term care facilities that selected CVS Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations – more than 40,000 in total – will be complete by mid-February, meaning the company is on schedule based on program parameters. Importantly, doses administered as a percentage of vaccines allocated by states is not an accurate way to determine progress. Allocations were based on long-term care facility bed counts multiplied by two to account for staff, but at most facilities occupancy is far less than bed count and staff uptake remains low.
Critical Role of Retail Pharmacies in Next Phase
Through a federal partnership, COVID-19 vaccines will eventually be available at CVS Pharmacy locations across the country subject to product availability and prioritization of populations. Several locations in Indiana, Massachusetts, and New York are currently offering vaccines to certain age groups, with more states to follow in advance of the federal program being activated. Criteria for vaccination at these locations are defined by the states, and supply comes from state allocations. Vaccines in a retail setting will be offered on an appointment-only basis via CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and people without online access can contact customer service.
CVS Pharmacy has the capacity to administer 20 – 25 million shots per month.
“Our impact at retail will be significant given our presence in communities across the country and more than 90,000 pharmacists, licensed pharmacy technicians, and nurses who will proudly take part in the vaccination effort,” Lynch continued.