Graham Kilmer

Get COVID-19 Vaccine at Walgreens

New federal program will add to state's vaccine supply, should expand access.

By - Feb 12th, 2021 05:58 pm
Walgreens at 2625 W. National Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Walgreens at 2625 W. National Ave. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

A federal program intended to increase access to the COVID-19 vaccine by delivering it directly to retail pharmacies launched this week.

The program, aptly called the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, is also increasing the number of doses that are provided to states each week.

For this first week, the federal government is shipping 17,800 doses to Wisconsin to be distributed amongst 178 Walgreens locations around the state. The Department of Health Services (DHS) said the majority of pharmacies are in areas that are currently underserved.

The biggest challenge that officials in public health and elected office have pointed to for weeks is the strained supply of vaccine. State officials have maintained that the infrastructure to increase vaccination is in place and that it all comes down to vaccine supply.

Recently, after vaccine manufacturing capacity improved slightly, the federal government bumped up the weekly doses for the state to nearly 89,000. The state also recently became one of the best performing vaccinators in the country, administering the most vaccines per 100 people of any state. As of Tuesday, approximately 3% of the state’s population had been fully vaccinated.

In a statement announcing the start of the new retail pharmacy program, Governor Tony Evers said, “It’s true that we’re getting more shots in arms, but the vaccine is still a scarce resource.”

The plan, DHS said, is for the retail pharmacy program to “start small and expand as vaccine supply increases.” 

The state is still in its first phase of vaccination, which means frontline health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities are eligible for the vaccine. Though, it has also been opened up to residents aged 65 or older and fire, police and corrections personnel.

Anyone that falls under the current eligibility can schedule a vaccination appointment directly with Walgreens on their website. Otherwise, DHS said the company is also setting up a call line for scheduling over the phone.

President Joe Biden recently announced new purchases of vaccine doses that should produce a speedier vaccination timeline. On Thursday, the Biden administration placed orders for 100 million doses of Pfizer vaccine and 100 million doses of Moderna.

“That means we’re now on track to have enough supply for 300 million Americans by the end of July,” he said speaking to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

The president also said 100 million doses that were expected by the end of June have been expedited and will arrive by the end of May. “That’s a month faster. That means lives will be saved.”

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Categories: Health

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