PROVIDENCE, RI — Rhode Island nursing home residents and staff will begin receiving the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine Dec. 28, CVS Health confirmed Monday. The company, along with Walgreens, partnered with the federal government to provide and administer doses in all nursing home facilities in the state.
The company will bring vaccines to 210 skilled nursing facilities in the state, which encompass approximately 34,000 residents.
Following the nursing home initiative, CVS will also offer vaccines to the general public, the company said in a statement. Doses will be available in 10,000 pharmacies across the country, beginning sometime in 2021.
"[This] rollout is the culmination of months of internal planning and demonstrates how the private sector can use its expertise to help solve some of our most critical challenges," said Larry J. Merlo, CVS Health's president and CEO. "I’m grateful for the herculean efforts of everyone involved, including our health care professionals who will be deployed throughout the country to bring peace of mind to long-term care facility residents, staff, and their loved ones."
Last week, the Rhode Island Department of Health outlined the CVS and Walgreens partnership. All distribution and administration of the vaccine doses will be handled by the respective companies. All nursing home residents and staff are expected to have been offered the first dose of the vaccine within three weeks, the department said. Because of the immune response to the vaccine, which can make someone feel generally unwell, facilities are coordinating with staff to ensure there are no shortages during the vaccination effort.
"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," said Karen S. Lynch, who is set to become president and CEO in February. "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."