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Under the plan introduced by the Department of Health and Human Services, trained staff from the two national pharmacy chains would deliver the vaccines to nursing homes and administer the shots. The vaccine would also be available for free to residents in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, adult family homes and residential care homes.
“Protecting the vulnerable has been the No. 1 priority of the Trump administration’s response to COVID-19, and that commitment will continue through distributing a safe and effective vaccine earliest to those who need it most,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.
|CVS||CVS HEALTH CORPORATION||56.09||+0.16||+0.29%|
|WBA||WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC.||34.04||+0.52||+1.55%|
CVS and Walgreens will be reimbursed for administering the shots at standard Medicare rates, officials said.
The goal of the program is to give states an all-inclusive system for vaccinating some of their most vulnerable residents, as officials expect initial supplies of a vaccine to be limited if one is approved this year.
People in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities account for less than 1% of the U.S. population, but about 40% of the deaths from COVID-19, with more than 83,600 fatalities logged by the COVID Tracking Project.
The Trump administration's initial attempts to promote coronavirus testing in nursing homes and to ensure sufficient supplies of protective gear were hampered by missteps and led to widespread complaints from nursing home operators and advocates for older people.
The vaccine program seems designed to prevent a repeat at a time when President Trump is battling for the support of older voters.
Globally, there are about a dozen vaccine candidates in the first stages of testing or about to begin. Some of the notable ones that have garnered attention include those created by biotech company Moderna and a different one from Oxford University.
The Associated Press contributed to this report