On February 2, the Biden Administration announced a Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that will increase access to COVID-19 vaccinations. The program, which started on February 11, will allow eligible people to receive vaccinations at one of 21 national pharmacy partners, including three long-term care pharmacies. About a million vaccines will be sent to about 6,500 stores nationwide at the onset, but the administration expects to increase vaccine allocation and expand to more than 40,000 stores as supply rises.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and states selected initial locations based on multiple considerations, such as their ability to reach vulnerable communities and populations most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19. The federal government will ship vaccines at no cost to participating pharmacies.
The allotment pharmacies receive will be based on per-capita allocations by each jurisdiction and the number of participating pharmacies. Allocations will be adjusted as vaccine supply increases. The CDC is also leading the Pharmacy Transfer Program, in which states and territories can transfer vaccine doses to pharmacies to help vaccinate target populations.
People who are eligible for vaccination and are interested in getting vaccinated at a pharmacy should check the CDC webpage to see the pharmacies participating in the program by state and contact or check the pharmacy’s website to find out if vaccines are available.
Counties welcome the federal government’s efforts to supply vaccine dosages direct to local entities to speed up vaccinations of eligible residents. As frontline administrators of COVID-19 vaccines, counties will need ongoing fiscal and resource support to equitably distribute vaccines to residents. NACo continues to advocate for direct vaccine dosage allocations to counties or county owned facilities, especially in communities that are not in close proximity to a retail pharmacy chain.
- NACo Blog: Biden Administration Unveils National Vaccine Strategy
- NACo Legislative Analysis for Counties: President-Elect Biden’s COVID-19 Resource Plan
- NACo’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Toolkit