CVS, Walgreens to offer COVID vaccines this week in New York. Here are the details
ALBANY - Two of the leading pharmacy chains in the nation will be offering COVID-19 vaccines in New York starting this week.
CVS and Walgreens announced in recent days they will have a limited supply of vaccines in select states, and New York is one of them.
And it won't be all stores in New York. Just ones that happen to have a vaccine on any given day or week.
CVS said its in-store availability of vaccines will begin Friday, which is also when its scheduling system will open.
Walgreens said vaccinations will also begin in stores Friday. Pharmacies had already been part of a national program that started in December to provide vaccines for long-term care facility staff and residents.
Under state rules, pharmacies are only allowed to vaccinate those over the age of 65.
“Our pharmacy teams have already provided nearly two million COVID-19 vaccinations and stand ready with their expertise to help educate and vaccinate additional Americans, including those in rural and underserved communities,” John Standley, Walgreens president, said in a statement.
Both companies stressed that there are no walk-in appointments, and people would need to register and search their websites to see which stores have vaccines and to make appointments.
But experts said they are hopeful that the nation's established network of pharmacies will help speed up distribution of the vaccine.
"I have no doubt" that it will, Bunny Ellerin, director of the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Management Program at Columbia Business School, told USA TODAY.
CVS and Walgreens join a growing group of local pharmacies, health providers and state-run vaccination sites offering the vaccine in New York.
But all the sites are only as good as the supply available. National pharmacies are largely getting their supply from the federal government, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo said New York has about 10 million New Yorkers waiting on 300,000 doses because people with comorbidities will be eligible to start getting the vaccines on Monday.
But states are getting a 5% increase this week from the federal government, Cuomo said, and that's after a series of other increases in recent weeks.
"The 5% increase doesn't sound like much but remember, that's on top of the first announcement which was a 16% increase, then the second announcement of 5% , so this is a third announcement of 5%," Cuomo said Tuesday.
"Again, not proportionate to the need but that has been helpful."
How to register at CVS, Walgreens for a vaccine
CVS expects vaccines for about 350 stores across 11 states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Vaccines will be offered on an appointment-only basis via CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app.
Those without online access can contact customer service at: (800) 746-7287.
CVS said it is best to go through the website or the phone number rather than calling individual locations.
"Because active stores will change regularly based on vaccine supply, CVS Health will not provide a full list of participating locations," the company said.
Walgreens said it will be providing vaccinations at certain stores in 17 states and jurisdictions: Arizona, Chicago, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
Walgreens stressed that its vaccine inventory is still limited, but it is available to eligible individuals by appointment only at select Walgreens stores.
Appointments can be made through Walgreens updated appointment scheduler at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine when vaccine becomes available.
Walgreens said it will also not provide vaccinations on a walk-in basis at this time.
Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network's Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
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