Biden Will Order Pharmacies To Offer Walk-In Covid Vaccines
Thousands of pharmacies will begin administering Covid-19 vaccines to Americans without appointments, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday, part of an effort to convince more people to get immunized against Covid-19 by making vaccinations more convenient.
This week, Biden is directing the nearly 40,000 pharmacies that receive vaccine doses through a partnership with the federal government — including independent stores and chains like CVS — to start offering walk-in appointments, he said in a Tuesday speech.
He’s also pushing state-run clinics to offer walk-in vaccinations, though state governments have been given broad latitude to set their own vaccination policies.
The federal government is also aiming to shift from mass-vaccination sites to smaller mobile clinics, including sites in hard-to-reach areas, the president said.
Biden acknowledged Tuesday that the pace of vaccinations has slowed nationwide in recent weeks, and he framed the introduction of walk-in appointments and smaller clinics as a way of making it easier to reach people who are hesitant or skeptical.
“As we anticipated, the pace of vaccination is slowing now that the majority of American adults have already gotten their first shot,” Biden said. “Soon, we’ll have reached the adults who are most eager to get vaccinated, and at that point, this effort will shift to a new phase.”
Some pharmacies and clinics have already started administering coronavirus vaccinations on short notice. CVS and Walgreens now offer same-dayappointments, Rite Aid started offering walk-in vaccinations “on a limited basis” last week, and somestateandlocal health clinics have rolled out walk-in hours. This shift is partly a function of slower demand: Clinics struggled to keep up with demand for shots earlier this year, but in recent weeks, some vaccination sites have closed their doors because too many appointment slots were unclaimed.
Biden’s is aiming for 70% of American adults to receive at least one vaccine dose by July 4, he said Tuesday, a 14-point increase from the country’s current adult vaccination rate. But vaccinations have slowed down over the last few weeks, and some Americans remain hesitant to get immunized.
Federal regulators could authorize Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for children ages 12 to 15 in the next week, making it the first vaccine available for younger teenagers. Biden vowed the federal government is ready to start giving out doses to kids as soon as the FDA signs off. Pharmacies will offer vaccines to teenagers, and doses will be sent directly to pediatricians’ offices, he said.