Azar: Drugstores OK to give coronavirus shots

Coronavirus

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the National Institutes of Health, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says the government will begin allowing more drugstores to start giving shots to speed coronavirus vaccinations.

Pharmacies from 19 chains had been on standby until vaccine supplies increased. Azar says allowing them to help with vaccinations would ease pressure on hospitals that have been the main vaccine providers.

Pharmacies would need to follow state plans for who gets in line first, and governors would decide how to divide supplies between the drugstores and other vaccination sites.

Azar says if health workers aren’t lining up fast enough, it’s OK to mix in other priority groups, and urged governors to make that clear.

The drugstore program is in addition to work by CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate nursing home residents and staff. Azar says eventually more than 40,000 pharmacy locations will be involved

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