Walgreens, CVS defend COVID-19 vaccine rollout after NJ Gov. Murphy criticizes slow distribution

They 'have to punch at a higher weight, especially Walgreens'

CVS and Walgreens on Wednesday rejected New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's criticism of the timing of their vaccine distribution saying that the first doses of the vaccines have been completed at most, if not all New Jersey nursing facilities.

In a statement Wednesday, CVS told FOX Business that the first doses for facilities are already complete and that the company has been transparent on its progress through regularly updated data on long-term care vaccinations.

Stocks in this Article

CVSCVS HEALTH CORP.
$69.28
+1.15 (+1.69%)
WBAWALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE, INC.
$47.85
-0.08 (-0.17%)

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

Meanwhile, doses at assisted living and other facilities, which were activated by the state on Jan. 4, are underway and are estimated to be completed by the end of the month, according to CVS.

"This shouldn’t come as a surprise to the state, considering timelines were established and made clear early in the process," a CVS spokesperson told FOX Business.

(iStock)

Although it's "a complex undertaking," Walgreens said it has already completed the first doses at nearly 80 of the 95 skilled nursing facilities in New Jersey that it is contracted to serve, a Walgreens spokesperson told FOX Business.

WALGREENS, CVS TO FINISH FIRST ROUND OF COVID-19 VACCINATIONS BY JAN. 25

The company has 40 more clinics scheduled over the next seven days for first and second doses.

Walgreens also reiterated that it remains on track to complete its first doses in skilled nursing facilities nationwide by Jan. 25, which also aligns with CVS' timeline.

"While we know there are and will be bumps along the way that impact vaccine distribution and administration, we are committed to adapting our processes to help meet the needs of our communities and the patients we serve," a Walgreens spokesperson told FOX Business.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE 

Both companies were tapped by the U.S. Department of Health and Senior Services to administer vaccinations to the high-priority populations ahead of the general public in order to stem the spread of the virus.

Their efforts drew criticism on Tuesday from Murphy, who said that they "have to punch at a higher weight, especially Walgreens." The comments came even after both companies disclosed that they were on track to complete the first doses by the end of the month.

"We have the highest density of long-term care facilities, of patients," Murphy said in a media briefing Tuesday. "We have the biggest number of facilities in this program so when they're not performing, this is the federal piece in our state, that is impacting the sense of our overall posture and we're not getting to people fast enough."

CVS NEEDS TO HIRE THOUSANDS TO ROLL OUT VACCINE DISTRIBUTION – HERE ARE THE JOBS AVAILABLE

Murphy acknowledged, though, that this is "largely" the result of a lack of federal doses.

However, he compared the country's progress with West Virginia, which he says was the only state that didn't take the federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens.

"And if you look at how well states are doing, they're No.1 in the country. Because all they're worrying about is what's within their control,"' he said. "If you look at us in terms of what we control, the distributions that are controlled outside of CVS and Walgreens, you know, it is a very meaningful improvement relative to the federal program."