CVS Health (CVS) - Get Report said on Thursday that it has 10,000 staffers ready to administer vaccines to senior citizens and care staff at nursing homes and assisted living centers within 24 to 48 hours upon receiving supplies of vaccines, according to media reports.
“We’re ready to go. We’re in great shape and people are excited to be an important part of this solution,” Chief Executive Larry Merlo told CNBC.
He said all CVS pharmacies already have refrigerators and freezers that can store five of the six vaccine candidates at a proper temperatures. He noted that the Pfizer (PFE) - Get Report vaccine will require special, ultracold, storage.
The Pfizer vaccine will be distributed in special thermal shippers that will help give it a life cycle of 15 days, according to Merlo.
He added that it can then be stored an additional five days in the drugstore’s typical cooling equipment.
Merlo also said that since the pandemic hit the country, the Woonsocket, R.I., company has been hiring individuals to help with covid-19 testing. It has experience giving seasonal flu shots at long-term facilities.
CVS Health turned to pharmacy schools to find and recruit pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy interns, according to Merlo.
It also hired health care professionals who are retired but still have their licenses and are willing to work part-time.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control said that healthcare workers, residents, and staff at long-term care facilities should be the first in line to get the vaccine once it rolls out, but the ultimate decision is to be made by states and jurisdictions.
More than 40,000 long-term care facilities nationwide selected CVS to administer vaccinations at their facilities, while 30,000 selected Walgreens, according to CNBC.
The vaccines will be free and found at on-site clinics, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
In the U.S. more than 15 million people got sick and more than 286,000 have died from covid-19, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.