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Pharmacies now offering COVID-19 vaccines: Here's what you need to know

COVID-19 vaccines being sent to pharmacies
U.S. begins sending 1 million COVID-19 vaccination doses directly to pharmacies 06:48

The bumpy U.S. rollout of coronavirus vaccines is getting a major shot in the arm as pharmacies across the country join the effort.

The White House is doubling the amount of doses being delivered to retail pharmacies across the U.S., broadening the shipments from the 1 million doses sent to 6,500 pharmacies last week. The Biden administration will ship 2 million doses a week to outlets going forward and eventually will include 40,000 stores nationwide.

"This program will expand access in neighborhoods across the country so that people can call and make an appointment and get their shot conveniently and quickly," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. "This is a critical, critical part of our plan."

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Posted by The White House on Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The federal government last week began sending supplies of COVID-19 vaccines to 21 national drugstore chains and to independent pharmacies in a move to accelerate distribution. The program will be implemented in stages, based on available vaccine supplies, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pharmacies and retailers are also partnering with states to help speed the immunization effort.

National drugstore chains CVS Health and Walgreens are among those getting supplies of COVID-19 vaccines from the  U.S. government. But getting a shot isn't as easy as walking through the pharmacy door. Consumers are instead being discouraged from flocking to the stores, but rather get in line by making an appointment online or the phone. 

Kroger  — the nation's largest grocery chain — on Wednesday unveiled a scheduling tool that it said can manage 250,000 requests daily. Kroger Health is now receiving and administering vaccines at 1,300 of its 2,200 pharmacies and 220 clinics in 35 states. 

"If all pharmacy locations begin to receive doses of the vaccine, Kroger Health could administer an average of nearly 500,000 vaccinations per week," it stated in a news release. 

Kroger pharmacies have a limited supply of the vaccine and are offering it now at some locations in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin, according to an update from the company. Consumers can check appointment availability here.

As of Tuesday, Kroger Health had administered more than 380,000 COVID-19 vaccines in 25 states to essential health care workers, skilled-nursing facilities, elderly populations, educators and eligible associates, the company said.

Hillcrest Pharmacy in Vernon, Texas

All told, the federal government is partnering with 21 national pharmacy chains and independent networks to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines across the U.S., according to the agency. The pharmacies taking part vary by state, with the CDC offering a state-by-state accounting of which retailers will be getting vaccine doses this week. 

"We are not able to confirm how many doses will be provided weekly to pharmacy partners during future weeks, but weekly allocations are anticipated to eventually increase as the vaccine supply increases," a CDC spokesman said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.

In Alabama, for example, Walmart pharmacies will get federal shipments of the vaccine, while in California, CVS and Rite Aid are expected to receive doses. Shipments of the vaccine are going to Hy-Vee and CPESN USA locations in Iowa, and to Albertsons, Costco and Health Mart pharmacies in Washington state. Look up your state here.

At Hillcrest Pharmacy in Vernon, Texas, the first federal shipment of Moderna vaccine arrived February 11 at 3 p.m., and pharmacy staff were vaccinating patients by 3:30 p.m., according to AmerisourceBergen, a drug wholesale company and cooperative of 4,500 independently owned pharmacies. 

The rural town of 11,000 has a sizable elderly population, with the pharmacy having many Medicare patients. Most of the pharmacy's patients can't travel to large vaccination clinics, an Amerisource spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch. Hilcrest's owners, Adam and Traci Bayer,  reported between 500 and 1,000 patients on their wait list, he added. 

Walgreens and CVS Health

Walgreens planned to give a limited count of COVID-19 vaccinations across 15 states and jurisdictions as part of the federal program starting February 12, with healthcare workers, those 65 and older and people with pre-existing conditions among the potential candidates, depending on state guidelines. Consumers can use Walgreens' appointment scheduler, although the system reportedly experienced a temporary outage. 

The CDC is shipping a limited number of doses to Walgreens in Chicago and other parts of Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York and New York City, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Walgreens is also administering the vaccine with local allotments in parts of Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, South Carolina and Texas, it said.

Initially slated to begin on February 11, CVS bumped the start of its in-pharmacy vaccination effort to the following day at a limited number of locations in 11 states, with the company booking appointments through its scheduling system on or the CVS Pharmacy app. Those without online access can call (800) 746-4287. 

"Because active stores will change regularly based on vaccine supply, CVS Health will not provide a full list of participating locations," it said in an update early in the week.

Top Pfizer scientist discusses COVID-19 vaccine's efficacy and new variants 08:23

CVS' initial rollout involves about 250,000 total doses to be given to eligible people in California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode island, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Separately, CVS is using state allocations of the vaccine to offer in-store vaccinations to eligible populations in Indiana and Ohio.

"As more supply becomes available the company will expand to additional states while increasing the number of stores offering vaccinations," said the chain, which operates nearly 10,000 pharmacies nationwide.

Walmart, Sam's Club and Rite Aid

More than 1,000 Walmart and Sam's Club pharmacies in 22 states are getting federal vaccine allocations, with the shots slated to be given starting on February 12. That includes Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. 

The retail giant is also giving vaccinations using state allocation in 11 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (You can see if a Walmart pharmacy near you is administering the COVID-19 vaccine here and confirm eligibility and schedule an appointment here.)

"Ninety percent of the country lives within 10 miles of a Walmart. We're at the heart of many rural and underserved communities, and we are committed to providing access to vaccines as groups become eligible," Dr. Cheryl Pegus, Walmart's executive vice president, Health & Wellness, said Tuesday in a news release

Rite Aid is receiving federal doses at some of its pharmacies in five states and two municipal jurisdictions: California, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and its largest city, Philadelphia, and New York City, a spokesperson said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. "These allocations will supplement existing and ongoing state and local allocations," he added. 

The Rite Aid chain, which operates 2,450 stores in 18 states, has limited information on registering for a vaccination here

Publix and Costco

Publix said it was taking appointments starting February 10 to administer the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals at 593 Publix pharmacies in 41 Florida counties, using doses provided by the state and federal government. Demand remains intense, with local Florida news outlets reporting that vaccine appointments for February 15 were fully booked within an hour of online reservations starting at 7 a.m. on the Presidents Day holiday.

Publix pharmacies have also given the vaccine to people in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia. The company's online reservation system can be found here.

Costco is offering a limited number of COVID-19 vaccines, typically Moderna, at some locations in New York City, Oregon, Puerto Rico and Washington, the warehouse club said in an update on its website. 

Uber, Walgreens partner on vaccine equity, provide free rides to vaccine appointments 07:29

Albertsons, Hy-Vee and Meijer

Albertsons Companies, which operates more than 1,700 pharmacies in its grocery stores in 34 states, is also receiving direct federal allocations of vaccine. Consumers can check out availability at the food and drug retailer's numerous individual banners: ACMEAlbertsonsCarrsHaggenJewel-OscoPavilionRandallsSafewayShaw'sStar MarketTom ThumbUnited Supermarkets and Vons.

At Albertsons-owned Lucky Pharmacy in Salt Lake City, Utah, the COVID-19 vaccine is billed as "coming soon."

Hy-Vee runs 275 stores in eight Midwestern states and is offering federal doses of the vaccine at some of its in-store pharmacies in Iowa and South Dakota. Appointments can be made here.

Meijer plans to administer up to 25,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses starting the week of February 8 at clinics in its stores throughout Michigan. Residents of the state who are 65 and older can pre-register through the company's website. The retailer operates 256 supercenters and grocery stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan.

H-E-B, Ahold Delhaize and Southeastern Grocers

H-E-B, which runs more than 400 stores in Texas and Mexico, is offering the vaccine at some pharmacies in Texas. Check here for new appointment availability.

Ahold Delhaize companies also are offering the vaccine. That includes Stop & Shop, which runs 250 pharmacies in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. Hannaford is now scheduling appointments in two of the five states in which it operates, New York and Massachusetts, and its Giant Food brand is offering scheduling links to customers in Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. Go to for details. 

Southeastern Grocers began giving 8,100 free Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses starting February 11 to eligible customers in some Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Más and Harveys Supermarket locations throughout Florida. 

Acme Fresh Market, Big Y and Wegmans

Some of Topco Associates' multiple brands are also getting federal shipments of vaccines. Acme Fresh Market is offering vaccination appointments at its pharmacies in Ohio, although at last check were fully booked. Check for updates here. 

Big Y is offering the vaccine at pharmacies in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Wegmans is offering shots at some pharmacies in and Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

Giant Eagle, Food City and Price Chopper

Topco-brand Giant Eagle is in line to offer the vaccine at pharmacies in Indiana, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, while Brookshire Grocery has started an online waiting list in Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Food City is ready to offer the vaccine, but presently only has it at pharmacies in Virginia. Price Chopper/Market 32 is offering the vaccine at some pharmacies in Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania — click here to see if you're eligible. 

Health Mart — a chain of 5,000 independent pharmacies across the U.S. — is also due federal vaccine shipments.  Pennsylvania's Beaver Health Mart paused its online registration, saying it would resume taking requests once its supply is replenished. Missouri residents can try registering on the Parkland Health Mart Pharmacy site here

Health Mart, CPESN USA and Good Neighbor

Wayne Drug, a Health Mart pharmacy in Oswego, New York, took to social media to keep customers posted. 

Covid Vaccine- 65 and up: Call Wayne’s with name, d/o/b and cell phone. Text alert will be sent out to offer...

Posted by Wayne Drug on Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Community Pharmacy Enhanced Service Network, or CPESN USA, is participating in the federal program and offering vaccines at locations in Florida and Iowa

Amerisource said it was placing orders with the CDC on behalf of its Good Neighbor Pharmacy and Elevate Provider Network — a cooperative of 4,500 independently owned pharmacies — in Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Guam. 

Initially, Amerisource is allocating more than 10,000 doses a week to more than 100 independent community pharmacies.

In California's San Joaquin County, the Save Mart Company's Lucky Pharmacy is offering appointments here.

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