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Jewel-Osco, Walgreens, CVS, Meijer and Walmart will give out coronarivus vaccine in NWI at no cost

Jewel-Osco, Walgreens, CVS, Meijer and Walmart will give out coronarivus vaccine in NWI at no cost

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Jewel-Osco, Walgreens, CVS, Meijer and Walmart will get coronarivus vaccine

A coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. is shown.

Region residents will be able to go to multiple pharmacies in Northwest Indiana to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available to the general public.

Jewel-Osco, Walgreens, CVS, Meijer and Walmart will get direct allocations of a coronavirus vaccine as soon as it is approved for use in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services selected large pharmacy chains across the country for its Federal Pharmacy Partnership Strategy to maximize public access for the vaccine at no cost to customers.

“Throughout this pandemic our pharmacy teams have been on the front lines, offering care and health solutions for our communities,” said Mike Withers, president of Jewel-Osco, which has locations in Munster, Dyer, Crown Point and Chesterton. “When a vaccine is ready our pharmacists will play a critical role in administering this important public health service.”

The federal government plans to provide the vaccine directly to private-sector pharmacies across the country. The reasoning is that the pharmacies are trusted in their communities and the pharmacists and their aides are well-practiced in administering flu shots and other vaccinations.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with large chains that account for about 60% of pharmacies in all 50 states. Pharmacies that are not getting a federal allocation can still coordinate to get the vaccine from a local or state health department.  

“We are leveraging the existing private sector infrastructure to get safe and effective vaccines supported by Operation Warp Speed into communities and into arms as quickly as possible with no out-of-pocket costs," HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. "The vast majority of Americans live within five miles of a pharmacy, and our new agreement with pharmacy partners across America is a critical step toward making sure all Americans have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines when they are available.”

The goal is to make the vaccine as convenient and accessible as possible to put a stop to the pandemic that has infected more than 11.1 million Americans and killed more than 246,000 thus far.

“Since 2012, CDC has worked extensively with pharmacies to improve pandemic preparedness, conduct vaccine throughput exercises, and assess store and organizational response capabilities,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said.  “Through these partnerships, we will leverage established relationships to support our critical public health mission of vaccinating the American public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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