CVS will finish the primary spherical of Covid vaccines in nursing properties by January 25th

A CVS pharmacy manager prepares a dose of vaccine for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts on December 29, 2020.

Hoang ‘Leon’ Nguyen | The Republican | Pool | via Reuters

CVS Health announced Wednesday that it is on track to complete the first round of Covid-19 vaccination shots in nursing homes across the country by January 25th.

The federal government has partnered with CVS and Walgreens to administer recordings to residents and employees in long-term care facilities across the country. CVS said the goal is to meet the original goal for the nursing homes it is already working with.

CVS said it is now delivering shots to nursing home residents and employees in 49 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to nursing homes, the company will also vaccinate residents and employees in assisted living facilities, with nearly 31,000 such facilities working with CVS, according to the company.

The company said it faced some challenges during the program. The actual number of nursing home residents was about 20 to 30% lower than projections based on the number of beds, according to CVS. And it noted that “initial uptake among staff is low,” adding that some of that is likely due to facilities that want staff vaccinations to be staggered. Facilities are spaced Employee vaccinations to avoid side effects bottlenecks keep some employees at home for a few days.

“We are dealing with a vulnerable population that requires on-site and in some cases in-room visits to facilities with an average of less than 100 residents,” said Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS Health, in a statement. “Despite these challenges, we are staying on schedule and the number of vaccines we deliver will continue to grow as more facilities are activated by states.”

While the federal government has distributed more than 3.2 million vaccine doses through the so-called federal pharmacy partnership program for long-term care, only 429,000 had been administered by Tuesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, CVS found that the CDC’s data lag two to three days behind reality, which the CDC confirms.

The introduction of the vaccine has been slower than federal officials expected. Trump administration officials had said they were hoping to vaccinate 20 million people in December, but just over 4.8 million had received the first dose by Tuesday, according to the CDC.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said at an event hosted by STAT News Tuesday that she expects adoption to accelerate this month.

“I really do expect the pace of administration to increase quite dramatically over the next few weeks,” she said, adding that the facilities are resolving issues early and getting used to the vaccines.

The Department of Health and Human Resources has tapped CVS and other retail pharmacies to eventually offer vaccinations in locations across the country when wider adoption begins. CVS said Wednesday that there are talks with several states “to make a limited number of doses available in the coming weeks prior to wider rollout”.

CVS’s comments come after Politico reported Tuesday that a senior HHS official said 3,000 to 6,000 pharmacies could start administering Covid-19 shots in the next two weeks.

– CNBC’s Melissa Repko and Kevin Stankiewicz contributed to this report.

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