SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Starting Monday, CVS Pharmacy will begin giving COVID-19 vaccines to staff and residents at California's long term care facilities.
On Dec. 18, the first shot was given by a CVS employee at a nursing home in Connecticut.
"We'll be putting 9,000 vaccinators on the road to give those vaccines across the country," Jonathan Roberts, Vice President of CVS Health, said then.
Ten days later, CVS pharmacy will begin its 12-week vaccination program at California's skilled nursing facilities and assisted living centers. The company expects to give the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to around 700,000 people at 15,000 facilities across the state.
"Retail pharmacies are the foundation of the approach here, both because we are convenient and we're everywhere," Dr. Troy Brennan, Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health, said.
Earlier this month, the federal government awarded Walgreens and CVS contracts to roll out the vaccines because of already existing infrastructure and staff. CVS vaccinators will visit each facility at least three times for boosters and check-ups within the 12-week rotation.
After this initial phase, CVS executives say they will move onto the next tier of priority recipients, which includes essential workers, older Americans, and those with chronic illnesses.
"We have the best chance of being able to reach the public, and the public likes that approach," Dr. Brennan said.
Both pharmacies already use their websites and apps, where people can make COVID testing appointments. By April, they say a similar page will be set up for the general public to make their vaccine appointments.
"We have a fairly flexible digital front end and that we have developed for the testing, but it will be applicable here," Dr. Brennan said.
The companies hope their wide reach can help mitigate the spread by summer.
"I would hope that by June or July, we are going to be in a situation where there's going to be enough reduction of overall transmission, that we are going to be able to [return to] some sort of normal life."