A nurse waits near several vaccination stations on Thursday at the Lillian S. Wells Women's Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Centers nationwide began inoculating health workers with the vaccine early this week. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS both said Friday they are administering Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for nursing homes residents and staff at hundreds of centers in the United States.
The inoculations -- which are among the first in the nation to be given to people other than healthcare workers -- are being coordinated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is involving pharmacies in in the great national vaccination effort, Walgreens said.
CVS told CNBC it would also begin vaccinations at nursing homes in Ohio and Connecticut on Friday.
Walgreens said the initial inoculations represent "a monumental first" in its 119-year history.
"Walgreens is very proud to be a part of this historic milestone to begin administering Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to our most vulnerable populations," President John Standley said in a statement.
"With more than a decade of experience administering various vaccines, we have the deep expertise to support this unprecedented effort to allow our nation to emerge from this pandemic."
The Pfizer vaccine, developed in a partnership with BioNTech, was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration last week. The FDA is expected to approve a second vaccine, by Moderna, as soon as Friday. Both have shown to be about 95% effective.
After Friday's initial inoculations, Walgreens will start providing vaccinations at hundreds of long-term care facilities in a dozen states next week, including many in rural and urban medically-underserved areas.
CVS said it will vaccinate about 500 people at three facilities in Connecticut and another 1,000 at four centers in Ohio.
The first vaccination of a nursing home resident in Connecticut was given Friday morning at a facility in West Hartford, Conn., and will was attended by Gov. Ned Lamont, acting state public health commissioner Dr. Deidre Gifford and CVS officials.
Vice President Mike Pence, second lady Karen Pence and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams all were inoculated at the White House on Friday, in an event aimed at building public confidence in the vaccine.