On December 18, Walgreens announced about beginning Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine administering to residents and staff at long-term care facilities. Pharmacists are providing the vaccinations at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Ohio and Connecticut as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program.
“Walgreens is very proud to be a part of this historic milestone to begin administering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to our most vulnerable populations,” said John Standley, president, Walgreens. “With more than a decade of experience administering various vaccines, we have the deep expertise to support this unprecedented effort to allow our nation to emerge from this pandemic.”
The First COVID-19 Vaccine
On November 10, was announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 17 to 4 in support of the FDA granting Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the companies’ COVID-19 mRNA vaccine (BNT162b2). There is one member of the Committee whose vote is not included in the 17 to 4 vote decision.
VRBPAC based its recommendation on the totality of scientific evidence shared by the companies, including data from a pivotal Phase 3 clinical study announced last month and published today in The New England Journal of Medicine. The Phase 3 data demonstrated a vaccine efficacy rate of 95% in participants without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (first primary objective) and also in participants with and without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection (second primary objective), in each case measured from 7 days after the second dose.
“We have been looking forward to presenting our robust data package to the committee of vaccine experts for the U.S. government since we began our efforts to develop a novel COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and CEO. “We are pleased with the committee’s strong majority vote, and if the FDA issues an authorization, stand at the ready to bring this vaccine to people in the U.S. in an effort to help combat this devastating pandemic.”
Walgreens pharmacy team members will provide COVID-19 vaccinations in approximately 800 long-term care facilities across 12 states the week of December 21, including many in rural and urban medically-underserved areas. The company will continue to expand vaccinations to nearly 3 million residents and staff at 35,000 long-term care facilities.
“Walgreens is supporting Operation Warp Speed, together with the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and state and local governments, to administer vaccines as quickly as possible to Americans. COVID-19 vaccines are not available to the general population at this time. The company will continue to follow federal and state guidance for future allocation and prioritization of vaccinations,” the company writes.
“Walgreens pharmacy team members have conducted approximately 150,000 off-site visits since 2015 and more than 70 million vaccinations over the last decade. With more than 9,000 store locations across the nation, Walgreens pharmacy team members are embedded in their communities and will travel to long-term care facilities to administer COVID-19 vaccines. They will continue to play a critical role in education and immunizations as vaccines become available more broadly in 2021.”