Walgreens pharmacist Jessica Sahni is preparing a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at The New Jewish Home long-term care facility on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in New York on December 21, 2020.
Bryan R. Smith | AFP | Getty Images
Covid vaccines are still hard to come by, but that should change by spring, said Rick Gates, senior vice president of pharmacy and healthcare at Walgreens.
“I would say the end of March and the beginning of April will be the schedule for you to have more general use of it in all of our branches across the country of pharmacies and other places where you can start vaccinations,” he said Tuesday at CNBC’s “Healthy Return” virtual event.
Walgreens is part of a federal pharmacy program that is delivering cans direct to drug stores this week. The pharmacy chain plans to start vaccinations in some of its stores in 15 states, as well as Chicago and New York City, on Friday. However, all of these pharmacies will have limited supplies and vaccines will only be available to Americans who are high priority due to factors like age or health.
On Tuesday, the Biden government announced it would also begin shipping vaccines to community health centers next week – part of their strategy to reach out to black and low-income families who may or may not have a grocery or drug store nearby other barriers have access, such as a lack of transportation.
Around 43.2 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered across the country on Tuesday morning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Only 9.8 million people received two doses of the shot. Both vaccines currently under emergency approval from the Food and Drug Administration – Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna vaccines – require two doses.
Gates said he was confident that a vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson could increase supply. The drug company filed for emergency approval with the FDA last week after data was released showing its vaccine was about 66% effective against the virus. It’s a one-shot vaccine and can be stored in the refrigerator for months.
“It’s just good news for all of us that there will be more vaccines,” he said.