The Trump Administration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DoD) announced on October 16, about their agreement with CVS and Walgreens to provide and administer COVID-19 vaccines to residents of long-term care facilities (LTCF) nationwide with no out-of-pocket costs and to achieve the goals of Operation Warp Speed (OWS). Thus, LTCF residents may be part of the prioritized groups for initial COVID-19 vaccination efforts until there are enough doses available for every American who wishes to be vaccinated.
“The Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program provides complete management of the COVID-19 vaccination process. This means LTCF residents and staff across the country will be able to safely and efficiently get vaccinated once vaccines are available and recommended for them, if they have not been previously vaccinated. It will also minimize the burden on LTCF sites and jurisdictional health departments of vaccine handling, administration, and fulfilling reporting requirements,” – Department of Health and Human Services said.
Historic Pharmacy Partnership
This partnership is meant to be a helping hand for vulnerable segments of the population, and help with jurisdictions solve a logistical hurdle.
“Today’s historic pharmacy partnership will truly help jurisdictions solve a logistical hurdle and decrease the burden of distributing, administering, and reporting COVID-19 vaccination for both states and long-term care facilities,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield. “CDC is proud to be a part of this public-private partnership that is advancing care for the Nation’s most vulnerable.”
“Protecting the vulnerable has been the number one 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,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “Our unprecedented public-private partnership with CVS and Walgreens will provide convenient and free vaccination to residents of nursing homes across America, another historic achievement in our efforts to get a safe and effective vaccine to Americans as fast as possible.”
“The pandemic has inflicted a devastating toll on America’s nursing home residents,” said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma. “That’s why the Trump Administration has taken unprecedented action to protect them in every possible way. This effort will ensure they are at the front of the line for the COVID vaccine and will bring their grueling trial to a close as swiftly as possible.”
The Program Is:
- Free of charge to facilities.
- Available for residents in all long-term care settings, including skilled nursing facilities (SNF), nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential care homes, and adult family homes.
- Available to all remaining LTCF staff members who have not been previously vaccinated for COVID-19 (e.g., through satellite, temporary, or off-site clinics).
- Available in most rural areas that may not have an easily accessible pharmacy.
CVS and Walgreens will also:
- Receive and manage vaccines and associated supplies (e.g., syringes, needles, and personal protective equipment).
- Ensure cold chain management for vaccine.
- Provide on-site administration of vaccine.
- Report required vaccination data (including who was vaccinated, with what vaccine, and where) to the state, local, or territorial, and federal public health authorities within 72 hours of administering each dose.
- Adhere to all applicable Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requirements for COVID-19 testing for LTCF staff.
HHS said that, since October 19, 2020, LTCFs will be able to opt in and indicate which pharmacy partner their facility prefers to have on-site, but they are not mandated to participate in this program.
“Ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly among our most vulnerable populations, will be critical to saving lives and helping our nation recover from the pandemic,” said John Standley, Walgreens president. “Since the onset of the pandemic, Walgreens has worked closely with the CDC, HHS and the Administration to help accelerate the availability of COVID tests, ensure access to essential medicines and products and serve as a safe and trusted source of information in our communities. We are proud of how our pharmacists have continued to serve our patients and look forward to leveraging our nationwide footprint, community presence and pharmacist expertise to help administer COVID-19 vaccines, once they become available.”
“CVS Health has been on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19, working across the health care spectrum in all the communities we serve and that will continue to be the case when we have a vaccine to dispense,” said Troy Brennan, Chief Medical Officer, CVS Health.