The U.S. government will start sending COVID-19 vaccines directly to select pharmacies beginning next week, President Biden's administration has announced.
Jeff Zients, Biden's COVID-19 response coordinator, said Tuesday the federal government will begin the first phase of this program on Feb. 11 and deliver one million vaccine doses a week directly to about 6,500 pharmacies around the country, Bloomberg reports. Offering vaccines to Americans in pharmacies is a "key component" of Biden's national COVID-19 strategy, Zients explained.
"This will provide more sites for people to get vaccinated in their communities, and it's an important component to delivering vaccines equitably," Zients said. "This pharmacy program will expand access in neighborhoods across the country, so you can make an appointment and get your shot conveniently and quickly."
The program will be "limited" as it begins due to supply constraints, Zients noted. But he added, "Eventually, as we're able to increase supply, up to 40,000 pharmacies nationwide could provide COVID-19 vaccinations."
The Biden administration also said Tuesday it will send 10.5 million vaccine doses to states per week, which Bloomberg notes is an increase from the previously-announced 10 million. "The administration is committing to maintaining this as the minimum supply level for the next three weeks, and we will continue to work with manufacturers in their efforts to ramp up supply," the White House said. Brendan Morrow