CVS, Walgreens make deal with Trump admin to quickly distribute COVID-19 vaccines to nursing homes

Retail pharmacy chains CVS Health and Walgreens reached a deal with the Trump administration to quickly provide and administer COVID-19 vaccines directly to nursing homes with no out-of-pocket costs.

The agreement, announced Friday, focuses on the distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine to the highest-risk individuals ahead of a potential vaccine approval either this year or in early 2021.

“Today’s historic pharmacy partnership will truly help jurisdictions solve a logistical hurdle and decrease the burden of distributing, administering, and reporting COVID-19 vaccination for both states and long-term care facilities,” said Robert Redfield, M.D., director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in a statement.

The vaccine program would be free of charge to nursing facilities and would make the vaccines available to residents in all long-term care settings such as assisted living facilities, adult family homes and residential care homes.

CVS and Walgreens aim to schedule and coordinate on-site clinical dates with each facility to vaccinate residents and staff of nursing homes. The pharmacies can also coordinate on-site administration of a vaccine at the facilities and manage any associated supplies such as syringes and personal protective equipment.

Starting on Oct. 19, long-term care facilities can start to opt in to the program and indicate which pharmacy they prefer. The facilities are not mandated to participate in this program.

The program is a part of Operation Warp Speed, a joint initiative by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense aimed at coordinating the approval and distribution of a vaccine for the virus.