A man waits for pharmacist Joe Borge in Danvers, MA on February 1, 2021. On the first day of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 rollout, seniors aged 75 and over will be vaccinated at the Walgreens pharmacy on 107 High Street. in Danvers.
Pat greenhouse | Boston Globe | Getty Images
The U.S. will increase its weekly deliveries of Covid-19 vaccine doses to states by 5% and send some doses direct to pharmacies to expand access to the life-saving shots nationwide, the Biden government’s Covid-19 Response Team said Tuesday With.
The federal government will now be sending at least 10.5 million doses a week to the US for the next three weeks, White House Covid Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
The increase comes a week after the White House said it would increase supply in the next three weeks by 16% to states. The administration buys an additional 100 million cans from both Pfizer and Moderna‘s two-shot vaccines and said last week it will deliver enough doses for 300 million Americans by the end of summer or early fall.
The federal government will be sending cans directly to drug stores from Feb.11, Zients said. However, due to the limited supply of vials, the program will begin with around 6,500 retail stores nationwide, which will eventually expand to 40,000 pharmacies.
The US has allocated 1 million doses to pharmacies in addition to the 10.5 million it has reserved for states, tribes and US territories as of next week, Zients said.
Zients said the expanded vaccine offering was “all a result of increased production”. He said the administration was able to raise the necessary resources to extract an additional sixth dose from Pfizer’s vaccine bottles, which were originally supposed to contain five shots.
The supply kits that are being sent to states with the company’s vaccine now include a special, low dead space syringe needed to pull the extra shot, which should translate into a 20% increase in the nationwide supply of Pfizer vaccine.
The federal government has already paired up with CVS and Walgreens Vaccinate people in long-term care facilities. However, this program differs from a plan announced in November under the previous Trump administration that aims to make cans available in a larger number of retail pharmacies.
Some drugstore chains have already started vaccinating people in certain states who assign a portion of their doses directly to those pharmacies. The new partnership would make it possible to forward the recordings directly from the federal government to stationary retail chains.
“This pharmacy program will expand access to neighborhoods across the country so you can schedule an appointment and receive your admission conveniently and quickly,” said Zients.
Drug chains and pharmacies should play a bigger role in distributing the vaccine once the government expands access to more people. However, the slower than expected rollout has frustrated pharmacy chains, who have said they could use their existing footprint to accelerate sales.
The Biden Administration had previously indicated that it would “start quickly” the effort To make sure vaccines are available at local pharmacies in the US, President Joe Biden said the plan would ensure that most Americans have access to a vaccine only miles from their homes.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.