Illinois nursing homes will use CVS, Walgreens to help administer COVID-19

Vaccines for long-term care facilities expected to roll out the week of Dec. 28

Mobile teams from CVS and Walgreens will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines on-site at nursing homes in Illinois as soon as next week.

To date, 99% of nursing homes within the state are utilizing a partnership established between the CDC with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy.

The U.S. government made a supply of the publicly funded vaccine available to CVS and Walgreens to provide on-site vaccination clinic services to residents and staff of long-term care facilities, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will receive their vaccinations through a federal contract between the federal government and participating pharmacies. Local health departments don’t have a role in the federal contract. It is up to the facilities to choose which provider they want to use.

Long-term care facilities sign up for the federal program and receive the vaccine through that contract, said IDPH officials. County health officials are provided with a list confirming each facility has signed up.

Nearly 900 facilities across Illinois selected CVS Health as their COVID-19 vaccination partner, with the potential for 150,000 Illinois patients accessing the vaccine.

“Our army of healthcare professionals — pharmacists, nurses and licensed pharmacy technicians — are very familiar with this patient population,” said Charlie Rice-Minoso, regional communications manager for CVS. “This expertise, along with our national scale and local presence, which we have used to administer flu vaccinations and to mobilize COVID-19 testing solutions in communities across the country, will be applied to this national effort to safely and efficiently distribute COVID-19 vaccines.”

Minoso said the distribution to long-term care facilities is only the beginning of a plan to provide vaccines to the general public at its 10,000 CVS Pharmacy locations across the country in 2021.

Walgreens will provide COVID-19 vaccinations in about 800 long-term care facilities across 12 states the week of Dec. 21, including many in rural and urban medically-underserved areas. The company will then continue to expand vaccinations to nearly 3 million residents and staff at 35,000 long-term care facilities that have selected Walgreens as their vaccine provider, including Illinois.

Both pharmacy companies have trained staff, including pharmacists, pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians, to provide immunizations on-site following federal guidelines.

Derek Barichello

Derek Barichello

Derek is a Streator High and University of Illinois graduate. He worked at the Albany-Herald in Albany, Ga., and for Sauk Valley Media in Sterling, before returning to his hometown paper. He's now news editor for both the NewsTribune and The Times.