CVS Health begins administering COVID-19 vaccines in long-term care facilities

Starting Monday, Dec. 28, CVS Health will begin to administer COVID-19 vaccines in 1,829 skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Wisconsin that selected CVS Health as their COVID-19 vaccination partner.

Earlier this month, CVS Health was selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as one of two providers to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. 

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"Vaccinating one of our most vulnerable populations is the latest milestone in our multifaceted pandemic response, which includes testing more than 10 million people for the virus since March," stated Karen S. Lynch, currently Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, Aetna, who will become the company's next President and CEO on February 1. "The eventual availability of COVID-19 vaccines in communities across the country will bring us one step closer to overcoming the most significant health challenge of our lifetime."

CVS Health will administer COVID-19 vaccines at more than 40,000 long-term care facilities across the country.

COVID-19 has proven especially deadly in the assisted living sector. According to the state Department of Health Services, 27% of the 4,711 people who have died from the disease in Wisconsin were long-term care residents.

While CVS is beginning with long-term care facilities, the company also has an agreement with the HHS to eventually provide vaccines to the general public in our 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country in 2021 with more details to be shared at a later date.

CVS Health and Walgreens teams started visiting homes and inoculating residents and staff with the Moderna vaccine Monday morning, said Rick Abrams, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Health Care Association/Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living. The nonprofit organization advocates for the state's long-term care industry and residents. The effort is part of the chains' plan to vaccinate residents and workers at long-term care facilities across all 50 states.

CVS Health officials said they've partnered with about 1,800 facilities to deliver vaccines on-site. Walgreens officials said they didn't have any specifics on their Wisconsin vaccination efforts, but Abrams said it could be three months before inoculations are complete. Evers' administration said the program could take about two months.

Gov. Tony Evers' administration announced Monday that the DHS has allocated 56,800 vaccine doses to the pharmacy chains for long-term care facility inoculations.

But the campaign won't be quick. Wisconsin is home to about 60,000 long-term care residents, Abrams said. Not only will they be vaccinated, the chains also hope to inoculate anyone who comes into regular contact with them. That means an undetermined number of nurses, custodians, chefs and other facility employees will be lining up as well, Abrams said. Each person requires two doses.

Walgreens officials have said about 3 million workers serve long-term care residents across the country. Abrams did not have an estimate of how many staffers are employed in Wisconsin.

The DHS reported 1,335 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 statewide Monday, bringing the total number of infections since March to 472,153.

The disease was a factor in 19 more deaths, pushing the state’s death toll to 4,711. The survival rate still stands at 99%.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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