Pharmacies Say They Are the Solution to Distributing COVID-19 Vaccines

For a variety of reasons, a significant amount of COVID-19 vaccine has been undistributed while older Americans are clamoring for the shot. Chain drugstores suggest they are the best solution. Their association is suggesting transferring unused supply to their pharmacy members, adding that they can together deliver 100 million vaccine doses in a month. Here is more information.

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The association representing the nation’s chain drug store have a suggestion on how to speed up COVID-19 vaccinations to Americans.

"Any allocation that's out there right now that's sitting on shelves can be transferred to a community pharmacy. A lot of that supply is out there, and it's not being used,” the National Association of Chain Drug Stores wrote on its Twitter feed.

The group is running advertisements promoting that concept.

In addition, NACDS President and CEO Steven C. Anderson issued a statement about President-elect Joe Biden’s plans to stem the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Pharmacies and pharmacy teams are ‘all in’ to help all Americans overcome this pandemic and get back to what we need and what we love. It remains our top priority to provide safe and effective COVID-19 vaccinations, efficiently and equitably,” Anderson said. “We greatly appreciate President-elect Biden’s thoughtful and determined remarks and his pledge to ‘fully activate the pharmacies across this country to get the vaccinations into more arms as quickly as possible.’ As we have indicated, pharmacies can meet the demand for 100 million vaccinations in one month assuming that level of vaccine supply is available. Ninety percent of Americans live within five miles of a community pharmacy.” 

He added, “Pharmacies and pharmacy teams are committed to enhancing vaccine access both in their stores, mass clinics and mobile clinics – as we have done in collaboration with public health during prior epidemics, pandemics and natural disasters such as hurricanes. The trust of local pharmacists goes a long way in increasing vaccine confidence across all communities.”

At least 10.6 million people had received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by mid-January, according to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Operation Warp Speed (OWS) had set a goal of 20 million shots in arms by the end of 2020.

Earlier this month, OWS announced a partnership with 19 pharmacy chains that will eventually include as many as 40,000 locations around the country delivering COVID-19 vaccines.

Chain pharmacy representatives said they could help remedy that.

Kathleen Jaeger, NACDS senior vice president of pharmacy care and patient advocacy, explained in a press conference, "With 40,000 drug stores and one vaccinator per store, it would be very easy to deliver 100 million vaccine doses in one month.”

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