Pharmacies Lead COVID-19 Vaccinations
According to the U.S. government, pharmacies are the leading distribution outlet for COVID-19 vaccines. During the 2022-2023 season, available data show that more than two-thirds of adult COVID-19 vaccinations were administered at pharmacies.
Announced on April 18, 2023, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) announced the ‘HHS Bridge Access Program For COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments Program (“Program”) to maintain broad access to COVID-19 vaccines for millions of uninsured Americans.
The program will create a unique $1.1 billion public-private partnership to help maintain uninsured individuals’ access to COVID-19 care at local pharmacies.
HHS wrote pharmacies had been a critical partner in the Administration’s response to COVID-19 and a vital access point for millions of Americans in receiving convenient and timely COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and tests.
In the future, HHS aims to ensure that the pharmacy setting remains a place of access for the uninsured.
In building the Program, CDC will establish contracts with pharmacies to enable them to continue offering COVID-19 vaccines and designated treatments with no out-of-pocket costs to uninsured individuals, maintaining this critical access point for this population.
And pharmacies will also be expected to conduct outreach regarding the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, including through community partnerships focusing on underserved populations.
Together, these efforts will create a unique public-private partnership that will help maintain uninsured individuals’ access to COVID-19 care at their local pharmacies, local health centers, and public health infrastructure.