(Associated Press) CVS and Walgreens drugstores will start doling out COVID-19 vaccinations in more states on Thursday.
The drugstore chains say they have received additional vaccine doses from the federal government after they used up their initial allotment. Both companies started giving out vaccines on Feb. 12 to eligible customers at stores in several states.
CVS Health Corp. says it will add stores in six states, including Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania to a list of 11 that includes big markets like California, New York and Texas. The Woonsocket, Rhode Island, company received another 570,000 doses from the government.
Walgreens said late last week that it will receive an additional 480,000 doses to distribute at its stores. The company will expand into California, Oregon and Virginia, among other states.
The Deerfield, Illinois-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. said it went through nearly all of its initial shipment of 180,000 doses in three days.
Both companies run thousands of stores around the country and plan to expand their vaccine distribution at drugstores into more states as supplies allow. Customers must schedule appointments before they can receive the vaccines.
Since late last year, the drugstore chains have been sending out teams to vaccinate residents of nursing homes and other long-term care locations. A third national drugstore chain, Rite Aid Corp., also started delivering doses to customers this month at stores in the Northeast and California.
An analysis by U.S. regulators say Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine protects against COVID-19.
The report Wednesday confirmed the vaccine is about 66% effective overall at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19.
On Friday, a panel of experts to the Food and Drug Administration will debate if the evidence is strong enough to recommend the vaccine. The FDA is expected to make a final decision within days.
If the FDA clears the J&J shot for U.S. use, it won’t boost vaccine supplies significantly right away. Only a few million doses are expected to be ready for shipping in the first week.
J&J tested its single-dose option in 44,000 people in the U.S., Latin America and South Africa. J&J previously announced the vaccine worked better in the U.S. — 72% effective against moderate to severe COVID-19, compared with 66% in Latin America and 57% in South Africa.
Still, in every country it was highly effective against the most serious symptoms, and early study results showed no hospitalizations or deaths starting 28 days after vaccination.