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CVS Health administering COVID-19 vaccine at skilled nursing facilities in 49 states

The company expects to complete administration of first doses in skilled nursing facilities by January 25.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

CVS Health is now administering COVID-19 vaccines in skilled nursing facilities in 49 states, with the rollout beginning in 36 states and Washington, D.C. last week. New York, Florida, Ohio and Maine were among the first states in the rollout; Wyoming is the latest, having been added to CVS' slate on Monday.

Start dates were chosen by each state, in addition to which types of long-term care facilities to activate first. The most at-risk patients were prioritized. Of the roughly 15,000 skilled nursing facilities nationwide, nearly 8,000 partnered with CVS Health. 

The company expects to complete administration of first doses in skilled nursing facilities by January 25, consistent with timelines originally shared with states and provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT?

States will have activated nearly 31,000 assisted living facilities partnering with CVS Health by next week, with first doses administered in all facilities within three to four weeks of start dates. Activation dates at the remaining 8,000-plus partner facilities have yet to be determined by states.

Teams will make three visits to each long-term care facility to ensure residents and staff receive their initial shot and critical booster. Most residents and staff will be fully vaccinated three to four weeks after the first visit, depending on which vaccine they receive.

CVS Health has been following COVID-19 vaccination reporting protocols to state immunization registries and the CDC, but what is shared publicly is typically outdated by 48 to 72 hours. The company will now make national and state-level figures available here, with weekday updates at about 4 p.m. ET. 

While uptake among residents remains encouragingly high, the actual number of residents is approximately 20–30% lower than facility projections that were based on bed count. Initial uptake among staff is low, part of which is likely due to facilities wanting to stagger vaccinations between visits.

Per an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Resources, COVID-19 vaccines will eventually be available at all CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country subject to product availability and prioritization of populations, which will be determined by states. No vaccines are currently available at CVS Pharmacy locations, but the company is in discussions with several states to make a limited number of doses available in the coming weeks in advance of the broader rollout. 

Vaccines in a retail setting will be offered on an appointment-only basis via CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and there will be a dedicated 800 number for people without online access. The company said it has the capacity to administer 20–25 million shots per month.

THE LARGER TREND

On December 23, the Department of Health and Human Services with the Department of Defense announced it will purchase another 100 million doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. Officials said this deal would ensure that there are enough vaccines available for every American who wants one by June 2021, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

However, the actual number of people being vaccinated is lower than originally projected. 
 
General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed, gave an update today and said that by the end of the month there is projected to be another 20 million doses of Pfizer and 20 million of Moderna available.
 

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com