Wis. Walgreens and family-owned pharmacies to get vaccines from White House

Sarah Passafaro, a healthcare worker, gets the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine shot at...
Sarah Passafaro, a healthcare worker, gets the second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine shot at Fitchburg Family Pharmacy.(WMTV/Michelle Baik)
Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 10:28 PM CST
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FITCHBURG, Wis. (WMTV) - Thousands of pharmacies across the nation, including those in Wisconsin, will soon have access to COVID-19 vaccines by way of the Biden administration.

In an announcement Tuesday, the White House named 21 partners in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. The initial shipment to 6,500 stores nationwide will begin Feb. 11.

Walgreens locations, including those in Wisconsin, will offer the doses for free. Individuals who are in eligible groups can book an appointment online.

“We expect 175,000 doses next Thursday, and we will start as soon as next Friday to administer those vaccines,” said Kevin Ban, the chief medical officer for Walgreens.

According to the CDC, Walgreens was selected as a partner in Wisconsin after officials considered the number of stores and the ability to reach at-risk groups.

The agency still leaves it up to the state to determine who is vaccine-eligible.

The Fitchburg Family Pharmacy, owned by Thad Schumacher, will also have the option to get shipments. His pharmacy is a member of CPESN, a network of independent pharmacies, which is another partner in the federal program.

“It’s just another way for us to access vaccine,” Schumacher said. “It’s not necessarily a way for us to increase the amount of vaccine that we’re supposed to have.”

Schumacher has been vaccinating eligible groups since Jan. 12. through doses from the state. “Currently doing 300 [vaccinations] a week, we feel like we’re not making a great impact, but we know this is what we’re limited to,” he said.

Wednesday, he explained, he was still prioritizing healthcare workers in Phase 1A of the state vaccine distribution system. He asked the community to remain patient and book appointments online.

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