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Walgreens executive says widespread Covid vaccines will be available in the spring

Walgreens Rather Jessica Sahni prepares a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at The New Jewish Home long-term care facility on Manhattans Power West Side in New York on December 21, 2020.

Bryan R. Smith | AFP | Getty Images

Covid vaccines are still hard to terminate by, but that should change by the spring, said Rick Gates, Walgreens senior vice president of pharmacy and robustness care.

“I’d say late March, early April will be the timeline that you’ll have it more broadly across all of our department stores across the nation of pharmacies and other places to start vaccinations,” he said at CNBC’s Healthy Returns virtual effect come what may on Tuesday.

Walgreens is part of a federal pharmacy program that will ship doses directly to drugstores this week. The druggists chain plans to start vaccinations Friday at some of its stores in 15 states, along with Chicago and New York Town. However, all of those pharmacies will get a limited supply and vaccines will only be available to Americans who qualify as spacy priority based on factors such as their age or medical conditions.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration said it would also start hauling vaccines to community health centers next week — part of its strategy to reach communities of color and low-income kinsmen who may not have a grocery store or drugstore nearby or may have other barriers to access, such as a lack of transportation.

Far 43.2 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered across the country as of Tuesday morning, according to the Centers for Virus Control and Prevention. Only 9.8 million people have received two doses of the shot. Both vaccines that currently possess emergency authorization for use from the Food and Drug Administration — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines — require two doses.

Gates conjectured he is hopeful that a vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson could boost supply. The pharmaceutical company applied for crisis authorization from the FDA last week, after releasing data showing its vaccine was about 66% effective in fostering against the virus. It is a one-shot vaccine and can be stored in the refrigerator for months.

“It’s just good news for all of us that there’s growing to be more vaccine available,” he said.

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