CVS is preparing to administer Covid-19 vaccinations to approximately 900,000 skilled nursing home residents in the US, according to Chris Cox, senior vice president of CVS Health.
In October, the Trump administration announced agreements with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate residents of long-term care facilities nationwide. Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called an emergency meeting Tuesday to vote, in part, on whether to recommend that residents in those facilities be among the first people in the US to get a coronavirus vaccine. Long-term care facilities include assisted-living facilities and skilled-nursing facilities, which are often referred to as nursing homes.
"We think there's a good chance, based on what we're hearing, that it's going to be the skilled-nursing facilities that they recommend be up front," Cox said.
The residents live in more than 8,000 skilled nursing facilities in all 50 states. CVS plans to send teams to each of the facilities three times in the coming months. A team will consist of two vaccinators and one support staffer, on average.
"We will do three clinics within every single facility: one to provide the first dose, the second to provide the booster and then the third is basically a cleanup of boosters for anyone who is admitted to the facility between our first and second clinics," Cox said.
CVS plans to store the vaccine at approximately 1,000 "hubs" across the country.
"A hub is basically a normal pharmacy, but it's been selected based off of its geographic location to store the vaccine. So we would train the pharmacy team in that particular location to be experts on the handling and the specific nuances of each of these particular vaccines," Cox said. "The dedicated clinic teams would then show up on the day of the clinic to collect the vaccines and transport it to the nursing home."
After an emergency use authorization is issued, a period of coordination is anticipated.
"Before day one we would, in essence, know when we're going to start the clinics. We would coordinate with each of those nursing homes, the date on which their clinic would occur. We would assign staff to them, and then through a series of communications with each of those nursing homes, we would get a roster from them of the patients — and potentially, if they chose to, the staff members — who would be vaccinated during that particular clinic. That would allow us to upload all of those patients and staff members into our pharmacy system, so that on the day of the clinic itself it would really become about the administration of the vaccine," Cox said.
This kind of upfront coordination is expected to take 10 days to two weeks and then the vaccine will be provided to CVS by the federal government, Cox said.