WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - In an effort to get as many people vaccinated as possible, the Biden administration will start shipping COVID-19 vaccines directly to pharmacies as early as next week.
The White House has a goal to get one million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to 6,500 stores like Walgreens and CVS across the country.
In Maryland, 11,000 doses will be available at 18 CVS pharmacies and 26,000 doses will be made available at 28 Virginia pharmacies. Walgreens says it was selected by the CDC as a pharmacy partner to optimize vaccine access in medically underserved areas including some areas in Maryland and West Virginia.
Coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients announced the moves Tuesday. Drugstores have become a mainstay for flu shots and shingles vaccines, and the industry is capable of vaccinating tens of millions of people monthly. "This will provide more sites for people to get vaccinated in their communities," Zients said.
The number of participating pharmacies and the allocation of vaccines are expected to accelerate as drug makers increase production. The White House said the ultimate goal was to distribute the vaccines through more than 40,000 pharmacies nationwide. The pharmacies will have to follow state guidelines when it comes to who is eligible for a shot.
At this time, nearly 34 million vaccine doses have been given out nationwide.
Patients must register in advance at CVS.com or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and people without online access can contact CVS customer service at 800-746-7287. Walk-in vaccinations without an appointment will not be provided.
Vaccine inventory is still limited and available to eligible individuals by appointment only at select Walgreens stores. Appointments can be made through Walgreens updated appointment scheduler at Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine when vaccine becomes available. Walgreens will not provide vaccinations on a walk-in basis at this time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report