CVS and Walgreens to offer free COVID vaccines to seniors in nursing homes

With dozens of coronavirus vaccines currently in the works, plans are being put into place to make sure some of the most vulnerable individuals get access to them once one or more is approved.

On Friday, the federal government announced they’ve struck a deal with the two largest drugstore chains, CVS and Walgreens, to administer vaccines for free to seniors in long-term health facilities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes, according to CNBC.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are currently 15,000 long-term care facilities, with an additional 35,000 assisted living facilities.

Upon a vaccine becoming available, CVS and Walgreens will dispatch mobile teams to vaccinate vulnerable residents and staff at the various facilities.

"This is a completely voluntary program on the part of every nursing home. This is an opt-in program," said Paul Mango, deputy chief of staff for policy at the Health and Human Services Department, according to CNN.

Facilities that decide not to opt-in to the program will have the possibility of obtaining and administering vaccines through other sources, the CDC said.

Once a vaccine is developed and approved, it would most likely be administered in stages, with the elderly and healthcare workers expected to be among the first to be vaccinated.

Currently, there are four vaccines in the later stages of testing in the United States, per CNBC.

Dr. Anthony Fauci recently revealed that he believes a vaccine may be available by April.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CBS News that a vaccine “will likely be [available] within the first quarter of 2021, by let’s say April of 2021.”

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