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Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new plan to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines through partnerships with both chain and independent grocery stores across the country. Several California grocery companies are part of this effort.
The vaccines will require no out-of-pocket costs, according to HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and pharmacists, pharmacy interns and pharmacy technicians will be able to provide vaccinations to customers. Providing the vaccine options at grocery stores will remove barriers to customers improving community health throughout California.
“We are leveraging the existing private sector infrastructure to get safe and effective vaccines supported by Operation Warp Speed into communities and into arms as quickly as possible with no out-of-pocket costs. The vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are available.”
By partnering with HHS, the grocery industry in California continues to expand its role on the frontlines, serving Californians during the pandemic and other natural disasters.
“Throughout the pandemic, grocery stores have done the essential work required to sustain communities with safe access to nourishing food,” said California Grocers Association CEO and President Ron Fong. “This partnership is an extension of the grocery community’s commitment to our customers and all Californians.”
As part of the agreement, Californians will be able to access vaccines at Albertsons, Safeway and Vons Pharmacies; Costco; Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Pharmacies; Ralphs; and Save Mart Pharmacies.
Currently, there are no COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to the CDC. However, this pharmacy partnership is being established in anticipation that one or more COVID-19 vaccines will be authorized or approved and recommended for use in the United States before the end of 2020.