Biden administration announces pharmacy partnerships to speed up COVID-19 vaccine rollout

WASHINGTON D.C. — People eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine may soon be able to get the shot at a local pharmacy.

The Biden administration announced starting next week, the first phase of the federal pharmacy program will get underway and select pharmacies across the country will start offering the vaccines.

It comes as state health officials testified before Congress about the challenges states have faced during the vaccine rollout.

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“We need increased supply of vaccine as well as resources to quickly administer the vaccine,” said. Dr. Ngozi Ezike, the Director of the Illinois Health Department.

“Michigan’s biggest challenge with the vaccine rollout has been the limited supply of vaccine, lack of predictability regarding vaccine from week to week, and the lack of a national strategy until now,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

States are calling for more funding to pay for more vaccinations as well as the personnel needed to administer the shots.

READ: Here’s where to find the COVID-19 vaccine in your county

Another critical need: improved communication.

States say there has been confusion about how many doses are coming, who is eligible, and where people can go to get the vaccinations.

“Providing states with greater visibility on what’s expected weeks in advance, allows states times to plan and distribute vaccines more efficiently,” said Dr. Courtney Phillips, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health.

The White House said the federal pharmacy program includes partnerships with 21 national pharmacy partners and networks of independent pharmacies, totaling more than 40,000 locations nationwide.

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