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CVS, Walgreens to start distributing COVID-19 vaccines. Here are the details

Can you get the COVID-19 vaccine at CVS now? Not quite

A sign is posted “COVID-19 testing in NOT available at this location,” on the doors of a CVS pharmacy in Los Angeles Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.
A sign is posted “COVID-19 testing is NOT available at this location,” on the doors of a CVS pharmacy in Los Angeles Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021.
Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press

CVS and Walgreens will begin distributing COVID-19 vaccines throughout the country starting Friday, USA Today reports.

  • States still determine eligibility for the vaccine and its availability. However, experts said the move could “help speed up distribution amid consternation over the pace of the rollout so far,” according to USA Today.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said CVS and Walgreens will start receiving vaccine doses this week.

  • “The federal government is providing 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the launch of the program,” a CDC spokesman told CBS News. “We are not able to confirm how many doses will be provided weekly to pharmacy partners during future weeks, but weekly allocations are anticipated to eventually increase as the vaccine supply increases.”

The government has discouraged people from visiting their local pharmacy to get a vaccine, according to CBS News. Rather, people should make an appointment online or by phone, depending on their state’s eligibility.

Bunny Ellerin, director of the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program at Columbia Business School, told USA Today that the pharmacy chains will do well to roll out the vaccine because they do so every year with the flu shot.

What does that mean for Utah?

According to the CDC, Utah has partnered with Walmart and Kroger to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

Currently, long-term care facility health care workers are receiving their vaccines from their employers by national pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens, along with the Community Nursing Services, according to Salt Lake County’s website.

Smith’s and Walmart pharmacies are set to begin offering no-cost vaccinations to Utahns who are eligible for the COVID-19 shots, according to the Deseret News. People must make appointments online starting Thursday at 39 of Smith’s 53 Utah pharmacies, and Friday at 18 of Walmart’s 59 pharmacies and Sam’s Club pharmacy in Logan.

Patients have been asked to bring insurance information. Vaccinations are also available to the uninsured through a new federal program, according to the Deseret News.

“We will reach all of the adult population, if 100% of them wanted it, by the end of May,” Utah Department of Health Executive Director Rich Saunders told members of the state Senate Health and Human Services Committee Wednesday, according to the Deseret News.