Americans may have to wait until early spring before coronavirus vaccines become available at local pharmacies and grocery stores across the country, according to Walgreens and CVS Health officials.
“Over the next couple of months we anticipate that we’ll be able to have it in our stores similar to the flu season,” Rina Shah, group vice president of pharmacy operations at Walgreens, told CNBC on Monday. “As more and more vaccine becomes available, access to that vaccine will continue to grow.”
Chris Cox, a senior vice president of CVS, said people would have to make an appointment with the company to get their shots once vaccines are available for the general public.
“When someone makes their appointment, we’re going to educate them right then and there that this is a two-shot vaccine and we’re going to have them schedule it just like a round-trip plane ticket, where they’re going to schedule both of their doses at the same time,” Cox said.
Walgreens, CVS and other drugstores and supermarkets are set to play a vital role in the vaccine distribution’s early phase. The pharmacy chains would help the U.S. government vaccinate nursing home residents and employees across the nation.
The first shots of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine was administered in New York City on Monday, marking a hopeful step for the state of New York, which has seen 35,000 coronavirus-related deaths, The New York Times reported.
Sandra Lindsay, a critical care nurse at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, became the first person in the U.S. to receive a dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“I feel like healing is coming. I hope this marks the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history,” Lindsay said.
Vaccinations have also started in more than 145 sites across the country, including in North Carolina, Rhode Island, Florida and Ohio. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said 425 sites are expected to receive a shipment of vaccines on Tuesday, while 66 sites are set to get the first doses of Pfizer’s vaccine on Wednesday, USA Today reported.
SOURCE: International Business Times – Danielle Ong