CVS, Walgreens to administer COVID-19 vaccines at U.S. nursing homes by Jan 25

FILE PHOTO: A small shopping basket filled with vials labeled "COVID-19 - Coronavirus Vaccine" and medical syringes are placed on a U.S. flag in this illustration taken November 29, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Ilustration

(Reuters) - CVS Health Corp and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc said on Wednesday they expect to complete administering the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines at U.S. nursing homes by Jan. 25.

This comes as the United States has fallen behind its vaccination targets. As of Tuesday, just over 4.8 million had received the first dose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the government had earlier expected 20 million to have been vaccinated by the end of 2020.

CVS and Walgreens are currently administering the vaccine in long-term care facilities in 49 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Around 35,000 long-term care facilities have partnered with Walgreens, and nearly 8,000 with CVS.

The companies, which run the nation’s largest pharmacy chains but also offer other offsite pharmacy services, have an agreement with the federal government to vaccinate U.S. nursing home residents through a voluntary program.

CVS said most of the residents and staff will be fully vaccinated within three to four weeks of the first visit, depending on the vaccine they receive.

In addition to nursing homes, CVS said it will vaccinate residents and staff at assisted-living facilities, with nearly 31,000 such centers partnering with the company.

Reporting by Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli