BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Beginning this week, over 200 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Mississippi will start receiving the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The vaccines will arrive and begin being administered on Dec. 28, according to CVS Health, who is taking part in the nationwide effort.
CVS Health and Walgreens were chosen earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as the two providers that will administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
CVS Pharmacy teams will administer the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in facilities across 12 states this week, including at 211 facilities in the Magnolia State. The names of the facilities that will receive the vaccinations have not yet been released.
The company expects to vaccinate up to four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities through the program in the coming weeks.
While long-term care facilities and healthcare workers are the first to receive the vaccines, CVS also has an agreement with the HHS to eventually provide them to the general public in its pharmacies across the country beginning in 2021.
CVS Pharmacy teams will make three visits to each long-term care facility to ensure residents and staff receive their initial shot and critical booster. The majority of residents and staff will be fully vaccinated three to four weeks after the first visit, depending on which vaccine they receive. CVS Health expects to complete its long-term care facility vaccination effort in approximately 12 weeks.
CVS Health will administer COVID-19 vaccinations starting this week in the following states: Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Vermont. Vaccinations will begin in 36 more states, as well as the District of Columbia, on December 28. Puerto Rico will activate on January 4.
“Today’s rollout is the culmination of months of internal planning and demonstrates how the private sector can use its expertise to help solve some of our most critical challenges,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and Chief Executive Officer, CVS Health. “I’m grateful for the herculean efforts of everyone involved, including our health care professionals who will be deployed throughout the country to bring peace of mind to long-term care facility residents, staff, and their loved ones.”
The long-term care facility vaccination effort is a precursor to the eventual availability of COVID-19 vaccines at all CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country subject to product availability and prioritization of populations, which will be determined by states. Vaccines in a retail setting will be offered on an appointment-only basis via CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and there will be a dedicated 800 number for people without online access. CVS Pharmacy will have the capacity to administer 20 – 25 million shots per month.
“Vaccinating one of our most vulnerable populations is the latest milestone in our multifaceted pandemic response, which includes testing more than 10 million people for the virus since March,” stated 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. “The eventual availability of COVID-19 vaccines in communities across the country will bring us one step closer to overcoming the most significant health challenge of our lifetime.”