From Friday, more and more retail pharmacies started administering COVID 19 vaccines. This is part of the new federal program that sends COVID 19 vaccines directly to them. Officials say that 1000000 doses of the vaccines are distributed to 6500 pharmacies. This includes some CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, and Rite Aid stores. This, according to them, is the first part of the program. They began giving the vaccines on Friday.
This comes on the day when CDC published guidelines for reopening schools. The agency exhorts States to give priority to educators. It, however, has not included inoculation in its important recommendations. Furthermore, as per a new report, 31% of Americans plan to adopt a “wait and watch” approach before getting vaccinated. They want to see how the vaccine works in others.
Pharmacies Begin Administering COVID 19 Vaccines!
When it comes to vaccines, most of the pharmacies do not have them in the first part of the program. Walgreens announced that some of its stores will have them in certain States. It will be available in Rite Aid stores in six States. Walmart and Sam’s Club will offer it in 22 States. Officials expect the coverage to expand as more supplies reach them.
The doses of vaccines sent to pharmacies are separate from the usual 1000000 doses per week the Government already supplies. Some of the States were giving them to pharmacies in limited quantities.
The criterion for eligibility, however, differs from State to State. All the States began with the priority groups like healthcare workers and the inmates of long-term care institutions. Seniors and essential workers, and people with certain ailments followed suit.
States are expanding their eligibility criteria. People with underlying or pre-existing ailments are now included in the priority list. At present, this is the situation in 11 States, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Texas, according to a newspaper’s public health analysis.
In New York, people suffering from comorbidities or any other underlying ailments can book appointments for the vaccine from Sunday. The vaccination drive will begin only on Monday. On Friday, California informed that it would expand its eligibility requirements to include millions of people with underlying health issues and those at high risk with disabilities and other developmental issues. It will start on March 15, it announces.
Vaccination drive is gaining momentum. States, in general, complain of the shortage of vaccines available. But the number of vaccinations given per day is on the rise. The country administered an average of 1.6 million vaccines per day the past week. This is higher than that of the last week, 1.3 million.
Experts observe that the general public will get access to the vaccines by April. By the end of this summer, almost all Americans will be vaccinated.
The new momentum in vaccination drive comes in the light of the rumored spread of more contagious variants of the virus. The only question is, is the vaccine effective against the new strains of the virus? Until now, more than 997 cases of the new variants of the more contagious virus of the UK, South Africa and Brazil have been detected in the country.
Health experts are now optimistic. They feel that the antibodies vaccines create can fight against all the known strains of the virus. Their effectiveness may lessen. Still, the country will be fine until new strains are found.
In the meantime, CDC has published new guidelines for reopening schools. They include the five known strategies to fight COVID 19; correct use of masks, washing hands, disinfecting and improving ventilation in the buildings, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. President Biden has vowed to reopen almost all K12 schools within 100 days in office. Teachers’ unions, however, express concern. A large number of educators have not yet received vaccination shots.