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Bringing vaccines to your local pharmacy

Makes a lot of sense.

Retail pharmacies will bring more COVID-19 vaccines to Houston and across the country following a boost by the Biden administration to increase distribution to the public.

CVS Health will roll out 38,000 COVID-19 vaccines to 70 Texas locations starting Feb. 11; a CVS spokesperson said they are still determining how many Houston locations will be part of the initial distribution. People who fall under the state’s 1A and 1B eligibility criteria will be able to make an appointment.

The pharmacy giant is setting up online and phone systems to book a time slot for the first dose. To register, eligible people can visit CVS.com or call 800-746-7287.

“Vaccinations will be by appointment-only and we want to encourage eligible patients to use our online scheduling tool to find a location that is convenient for them to access,” said Monica Prinzing, a CVS spokesperson.

People can book appointments starting Feb. 9, Prinzing said.

[…]

Pharmacies could be key to speeding up vaccine rollout. Patients already rely on them to pick up prescription drugs and receive flu and shingles vaccines, and may keep their local pharmacy in mind when it comes to obtaining a COVID-19 shot.

As of 2015, there are approximately 67,000 pharmacies in the U.S., according to the science journal PLOS One.

“You have pharmacies on every corner in the country,” said Dr. Asim Abu-Baker, associate dean for clinical and professional affairs at Texas A&M’s College of Pharmacy. “They’re used to handling the public’s questions and giving flu vaccines, while it’s a bottleneck to try and get into a hospital.”

I’ll skip the number crunching this time; suffice it to say we will continue to need a lot more of the vaccines. Other pharmacies are also involved, with HEB and Kroger also getting into the act. This should greatly help with access to the vaccine, especially for the significant number of people in Texas who lack health insurance, though even with this more is needed, as many neighborhoods don’t have a CVS or HEB or Kroger, either.

Still, this is great progress, and should help relieve bottlenecks in addition to making it easier overall for people to get the shots. It’s also a screamingly obvious move, which makes one wonder why neither the state of Texas nor the Trump administration had thought of it. I’ve said before that a key to Democrats having a fighting chance in the 2022 midterms is for Team Biden to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. Given Greg Abbott’s determination to fight the Biden administration in any way he can, you’d think he’d have tried a little harder to make this harder for them.

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3 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    “It’s also a screamingly obvious move, which makes one wonder why neither the state of Texas nor the Trump administration had thought of it.”

    Kuff, Team Trump not only thought of it, they implemented it. This was all planed back when the major pharmacy chains appeared on stage with Team Trump to announce their stores were going to be used for covid testing and vaccine administration, way back when.

    https://www.fox29.com/news/trump-announces-cvs-walgreens-free-coronavirus-vaccines-deal-to-help-seniors

  2. Lobo says:

    NAY / CAVEAT

    The Trump-era pharmacy-based distribution scheme was and remains nonviable because the existing infrastructure/physical capacity is not sufficient to handle the enormous volume. It could at best be used for a portion of the initial target/priority group(s), or as a supplemental distribution channel. But this creates other problems: As long as the several supply/demand imbalance persists, people will likely register and make appointments at multiple distribution points, and try to game the system, and the media irresponsibly encourages this also with “here is how to beat the system” advice.

    If they have two appointments at different outlets, they may not cancel the second one when they get their shot at the first, or get of the Harris County “lottery” waiting list. Also, the more sites have vaccine in stock, the greater the risk of left-overs close to expiration at some locations, unless they overbook, which will result in some people not getting their shots at their appointments.

    Mass drive-in/thru is better and more efficient.

    That said, the critical bottleneck is currently not the point-of-distribution, but the limited supply of vaccine. For the same reason, there is no good rationale as of NOW for campaigns to promote vaccine acceptance. Worry about that later. There are plenty of folks who want the vaccine now and can’t get it. Including minority groups,.

  3. Bill Daniels says:

    Wolf,

    It may be non viable as the TOTAL solution to the problem of distribution, but it is certainly a viable component of a distribution plan. At the moment, solar and wind are not the total solution to our energy needs, but they are a component of our overall energy production system. See where I’m going here?

    As to your other concern, people making appointments and then skipping them, that’s an easy issue to deal with. Have you ever flown standby? You show up to the airport, and wait for a seat on a flight to open up. You might not get the particular flight you want, but you’ll probably get A flight, if you are willing to wait long enough for a no show. Simply have a first come, first serve standby line. When there’s a no show, call up someone who is there, ready and willing to get the vaccine. There are plenty of people desperate to get the vaccine, who will wait in line for the hope of getting vaccinated.