The Biden administration will begin providing COVID-19 vaccines to U.S. pharmacies, part of its plan to ramp up vaccinations as new and potentially more serious virus strains are starting to appear.
Watch the hearing in the video player above.
Initially the government will be shipping limited quantities of vaccine to drug stores around the country, but that’s expected to accelerate as drugmakers increase production. Drug stores have become a mainstay for flu shots and shingles vaccines, and the industry is capable of vaccinating tens of millions of people monthly.
The partnership with drug stores was originally announced by the Trump administration last November. At that time, no coronavirus vaccines had been approved.
Since the coronavirus pandemic first emerged in the U.S. last year, Congress has provided more than $60 billion toward the development, production, and distribution of COVID-19 medical countermeasures, including vaccines, according to a memo released by the committee.
The Trump administration’s vaccine initiative, Operation Warp Speed, originally aimed to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021, but that goal was later reduced to 20 million doses by the end of 2020.
So far more than 32 million doses of the COVID-19 have been administered in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alaska, West Virginia, New Mexico and Connecticut lead the way on administering doses to their populations.