Retailer apps may be key to signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible

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In this photo provided by United States Forces Korea, Sgt. Parmer Smith, 129 medical detachment, administers one of the first COVID-19 vaccines to Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class John London, a Hospital Corpsman, SOCKOR Medics, at Brian D. Allgood Army Community Hospital at U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, in Pyeongtaek, South Korea Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. The United States has started vaccinating its troops based in South Korea, as its Asian ally reported its highest daily COVID-19 fatalities amid surging cases in the country. (Spc. Erin Conway/United States Forces Korea vis AP)

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Weeks into a mass vaccination campaign, the Trump administration abruptly shifted gears into warp speed. They hope the effort will get millions of people a first vaccine sooner than later.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced Tuesday the government will no longer hold back required second doses of vaccines, practically doubling supply. During the announcement, Gen. Gus Perna said states would get the vaccine and then distribute it to 70,000 pharmacies nationwide.

Chain businesses CVS, Hy-Vee and Walgreens each said they are ready to begin vaccinating people as soon as they hear from the states of Kansas and Missouri.

CVS

CVS says it has an agreement with the Department of Health and Human services to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to the public when it becomes available. This also includes CVS Pharmacy locations operating inside Target stores.

In a statement, CVS said, “COVID-19 vaccines will eventually be available at all CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country subject to product availability and prioritization of populations, which will be determined by states.  The minute that program is turned on, we’ll be ready to go.”

CVS says it has the capacity to administer 20-25 million shots a month. When that happens, these are the things you will need to know:

  • Vaccines will be offered on an appointment-only basis.
  • You will need to make an appointment through the CVS Pharmacy app.
  • There will be a dedicated 1-800 number for people who don’t have the app or online access.

Hy-Vee

Hy-Vee says its pharmacies will also be a go-to place for a COVID-19 vaccine. The company says it is in conversation with departments of health in both Kansas and Missouri, but are not yet vaccinating people here.

“We are ready and willing to assist with vaccine distribution in all of the eight states that we operate in, including online appointment scheduling and Hy-Vee Healthy You Mobile units, to help streamline the vaccination process,” Hy-Vee said in a statement.

Hy-Vee says it will stay in contact with the CDC and state departments of health to work to get the vaccine to as many people as possible.

Walgreens

All of Walgreens 9,000 store locations will offer COVID-19 vaccines, when they are available to the mass public. The company says it is also waiting to hear from the CDC, Missouri and Kansas on how to proceed.

“We will continuously expand access as more vaccines are approved and inventory grows, and are looking to the spring for mass availability,” Walgreens said in a statement.

As that access becomes more widely available, Walgreens says this is what you need to know to get your vaccine:

  • Walgreens will not be providing vaccinations on a walk-in basis.
  • Online scheduling options will be available through the Walgreens app.
  • Patients will be able to schedule both a vaccination and a booster vaccination at the same time.

Walmart

Walmart says it is ready to offer COVID-19 vaccines at its pharmacy locations, as well as Sam’s Club pharmacies nationwide.

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