By Darla Shelden, City Sentinel Reporter –
This story first appeared online on Dec. 22, 2020.
OKLAHOMA CITY— CVS Health has formally launched its COVID-19 vaccination program for long-term care facilities. Residents of these facilities have been disproportionality impacted by the pandemic.
Beginning Monday, December 21, CVS Pharmacy teams administered the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in facilities across 12 states, and the company expects to vaccinate up to four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities through the program.
In Oklahoma, this includes 176 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities with an estimated 27,204 patients due to be vaccinated in these locations.
“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.”
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.
Starting Dec. 21, CVS Health will administer COVID-19 vaccinations 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.
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. There will also 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,” Lynch added.
More information on steps CVS Health has taken to address the pandemic is available at the company’s COVID-19 resource center, which is updated frequently.
With over 300,000 employees, CVS Health’s commitment to responding to the COVID-19 health crisis includes administering nearly 10 million COVID-19 tests at more than 4,300 testing locations in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
For more information, visit cvshealth.com.