As the program scales up to eventually include COVID-19 vaccination at all 40,000+ retail locations, it will:
- Make it easier for individuals to access free COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy in their community
- Improve vaccine uptake while decreasing the logistical and operations burden on state, local, and territorial health departments
Pharmacists are highly trusted and trained healthcare providers who have direct access to and knowledge of their patient populations. Pharmacists are trained to counsel patients, administer vaccine, and provide vaccine education, and pharmacies are readily accessible in communities – with most Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy. Recognizing this, the federal government made them a key part of its COVID-19 vaccination strategy. While the program is expanding to include nearly 40,000 pharmacies by April 19, it is important to know that while vaccine supply remains limited, some pharmacies may not have vaccine or may have very limited supply.
Each partner is critical to the success of the program
Pharmacy partners select retail locations to receive vaccine based on various factors, including equitable access, demand, supply, and market saturation. CDC continues to collaborate with states and territories to help ensure fair access to COVID-19 vaccine nationwide and to work with pharmacy partners to shift vaccine inventory as needed.
The program relies on a collaboration with public health (CDC and state, local, and territorial health departments) to encourage individuals to go to pharmacies and get vaccinated. As the program scales up, intense community outreach remains critical to educating people about the importance of vaccination and where vaccines are available in the communities.