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CVS and Walgreens Now Offering COVID-19 Vaccines to California Long-Term Care Facilities

LAC+USC Pharmacy Supervisor Kevin Weissman holds a vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, Dec. 15, 2020. | Courtesy photo by Michael Owen Baker / L.A. County

Federal partnership will provide no-cost Pfizer vaccines to residents and staff in long-term care facilities 

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday that California has opted in to the federal COVID-19 Pharmacy Partnership. At no cost to the state or local government, CVS and Walgreens will administer the Pfizer vaccine to residents and staff in long-term care facilities. CVS and Walgreens started with nursing homes on Monday, which will take an estimated three to four weeks, and then vaccinate staff and residents in assisted living, residential care and other long-term care facilities. 

“Vaccinating those most vulnerable among us is critical to fighting this virus,” Newsom in a statement. “By leveraging CVS and Walgreens resources, we can effectively deploy vaccines to residents and staff at our long-term care facilities, which are at higher risk of COVID transmission — and do it at no cost to the state or local government.” 

The program will enable CVS and Walgreens pharmacy staff to administer the vaccine by going directly to care facilities. Approximately 499 nursing homes will be provided vaccine by CVS and 357 by Walgreens. The vaccines will be administered by pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and nurses. Pharmacy technicians are participating under a recent waiver by the Board of Pharmacy that requires appropriate supervision under California law and specialized training.

“This partnership is an opportunity to augment other vaccination efforts at the local level to prioritize our most vulnerable Californians where we are seeing the most outbreaks, hospitalizations, and deaths,” said Dr. Erica Pan, Interim State Public Health Officer. “The partnership also allows us to continue to vaccinate other high priority individuals such as our front-line health care workers who are critical to our ongoing response to a surge of cases.”

Specifically, the program:

  • Schedules and coordinates on-site vaccine clinic dates directly with each facility. Pharmacy staff will visit each facility several times to ensure that all residents and employees who wish to be vaccinated get the vaccine.
  • Orders vaccines and associated supplies (e.g. syringes, needles, personal protective equipment).
  • Ensures cold storage for the vaccine.
  • Provides on-site administration of the vaccine to all residents and staff.

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