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Oklahoma Pharmacies Will Provide New Access Spot For COVID Vaccine

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CVS Health Newsroom
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Oklahoma has opted in to the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program that would send vaccines directly to pharmacies starting next week.

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 vaccination is a collaboration between the federal government, state, national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks.

The additional vaccines will go to some limited Walmart pharmacies and businesses in Oklahoma that are part of the Community Pharmacy Enhanced Services Network.

Oklahoma State Department of Health officials said an initial 73 pharmacies around the state will split about 11,000 vaccines from this new federal program.

“It is important to note that - much like vaccines scheduled through the portal – your local pharmacy might not have vaccine right away or may have a very limited supply," Keith Reed, Deputy Commissioner at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Reed said the vaccines are in addition to what the state already receives through federal allocation. Pharmacies will follow the state's phased plan for who's eligible to receive the shots.

"We have so many people who are already eligible to get the shot, but they just would rather come here and get it," said Rebecca Hurt with Wilson Pharmacy in Midwest City. "They know us, they trust us, they’re comfortable here in the pharmacy."

Burt said their pharmacy was already involved in a separate pilot program with both OSDH and the CDC to be a Phase 2 vaccine provider before the federal program was announced.

Burt said some of her customers have already called to ask when they are going to receive the vaccine. She’s also assisted people here and there who’ve had trouble with scheduling or signing up on the state’s portal.

As for the logistics, Burt said the pharmacy, like many others who are going to get their first rounds of vaccines, will start administering vaccines to people they already serve - many of whom called weeks before they were expected to have any vaccine.

James Allen with Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma said it's important to keep in mind that just because the new federal program will be sending more vaccines to pharmacies, it doesn’t mean that there won't already be a waiting list.

"They've had people calling. But the good news is we’re getting them on board now so they will be an access point," said Allen.

He said even though this program will be limited as it starts, as time goes on there is room for growth.

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