CVS pharmacists to launch mass COVID-19 vaccination effort at Hawaii care homes

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Updated: Dec. 21, 2020 at 3:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Next Monday, Longs Drugs pharmacists will embark on an effort to vaccinate thousands of residents in Hawaii’s long-term care facilities for COVID-19.

It’s part of a nationwide program.

Over the next 12 weeks, CVS pharmacy teams will administer vaccines to residents at more than 40,000 long-term care facilities across the country. A total of 40 are in Hawaii.

On the mainland, the program is already underway.

The rollout started Friday at a nursing facility in Connecticut. Jeanne Peters, 95, was first in line.

“I feel great,” she told reporters. “I’m delighted to get the shot.”

The initiative officially kicks off in the islands on Dec. 28, however.

“This is a very big deal because this is one of our most vulnerable groups of people,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green. “Our kupuna who live in long-term care facilities have the highest mortality rate.”

Green says over the the course of three weeks, Longs Drugs pharmacists will vaccinate more than 4,300 residents in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Hawaii using the Moderna vaccine.

One reason: It’s easier to transport because it doesn’t need to be kept as cold as Pfizer’s shot.

Dr. Troy Brennan, chief medical officer at CVS Health, said teams of health professionals in full protective equipment will go to long-term care facilities to administer the vaccinations.

“They will have all the vaccines with them and go vaccinate all the people who work in the long-term care facilities as well as all the people who’ve consented to have the vaccinations who are patients there,” he said, adding the teams will return for booster shots and more vaccinations.

Green says CVS will be responsible for vaccinating about half of those living in the state’s care homes. “Our other partner Walgreens and some of our nursing entities will also be helping directly,” he said.

Green told HNN the partnership with CVS and Walgreens will likely continue down the road when it’s time to vaccinate the broader public.

He added the state hopes to provide a better idea on that timeline next week.

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