Pharmacies will be an integral part of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout though their biggest challenge right now is allocation, according to Associate Professor with the College of Pharmacy at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Dr. Emanuel George, III.
George said pharmacies will be among the best equipped for distribution for several reasons, including proximity.
“On your commute to work when you were able to commute to work, how many pharmacies would you pass? You probably can’t get to your local grocery store without passing two corner drug stores, but guess what? Even your grocery store has a pharmacy that’s in it,” George said Thursday. “When you think about positioning, they are literally where people live, whether it’s those big box retailers, it’s the grocery stores, or it’s the mom and pops.”
The latest news from around North Texas.
During a press briefing Thursday, officials with the Texas Department of State Health Services said more than two million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Texas.
Of those two million, 1.7 million are first doses. The remaining doses are second doses, meaning there are more than 300,000 people who are considered fully vaccinated in Texas.
Want to Get on a Vaccine Waitlist?
As the state begins to distribute the COVID-19 vaccines for those in Phase 1A and 1B, county health departments have begun waitlists for those wish to be inoculated.
You can now register to recieve the vaccination in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties. Links are below:
You do not need to be a resident of the county to register for a COVID-19 vaccine in that county -- registration is open to anyone in Texas. For those without internet access, Tarrant County is also taking registrations by phone at 817-248-6299. In Dallas County, call the DCHHS vaccine hotline at 1-855-IMMUNE9 (1-855-466-8639). In Denton County, call 940-349-2585.
For a more detailed breakdown of who is included in each priority group in Texas, see this page from the Texas DSHS.
Right now, most of their allotted vaccines have gone to large hubs and bigger providers, according to DSHS associate commissioner Imelda Garcia.
“As supply increases and you’ll notice in Week 8 allocations, that we have started increasing vaccines going to pharmacies and other providers as well,” Garcia said.
This week, Walmart announced more of their stores across the country will be able to distribute the vaccine, including three stores in North Texas.
According to a corporate spokesperson for CVS, they have administered the first round of COVID-19 vaccine doses to nearly 8,000 skilled nursing facilities across the country as of this week. Administration of second doses is well underway and expected to be complete within four weeks.
Meanwhile, a corporate spokesperson for Walgreens said they continue to “accelerate the administration of COVID-19 vaccines as they become more available to vulnerable populations across the nation.”
“We are working closely with the CDC and federal, state and local governments on vaccine roll out and look forward continuing these efforts to support next phase of the vaccination roll out. We’ll share more information as it becomes available,” a statement to NBC 5 reads.
George said the roughly 26,000 pharmacists in Texas are ready and willing to vaccinate. However, allocation and supply remain the biggest challenges.
Texas COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows where COVID-19 vaccines have been sent around the state. Click on a marker to find out information about each location. Use the "plus" and "minus" signs below to zoom in and out of the map.
From the Texas DSHS: Availability of COVID-19 vaccines lilsted on this map are based on shipping information and reporting to the DSHS directly by facilities. Please contact providers in advance to confirm vaccination location and hours, that they have vaccine on hand and that you are eligible for vaccination at that site. Not all providers are vaccinating the public or people in all priority groups. Vaccine is available at no charge, regardless of insurance status.