(East Farmingdale, NY)- A new federal program has begun to ship COVID-19 vaccines, directly to pharmacies. The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program (FRPP), is a collaboration between the federal government, states and pharmacies to increase access for Americans eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program began shipping to some pharmacies nationwide the week of February 8th. Steve Moore, Chairman of the Board for the Pharmacist Society of the State of New York, said the federal government (FRPP), will be increasing the number of pharmacies participating in the program as well as increase the supply of the vaccine, to the pharmacies in the coming weeks. The CDC currently lists the pharmacies in the initial roll out for New York, outside of New York City as; CVS, Walgreens and Retail Businesses Service (which includes Food Lion, The Giant Company, Giant Food, Hannaford and Stop & Shop). For Long Island, that means vaccines are now available at CVS, Walgreens and Stop & Shop. Moore said that the pharmacies have been instructed to only vaccinate those New Yorker’s who are aged 65 and older.
During the initial roll out of the coronavirus vaccine some weeks ago in New York, the State Department of Health had posted the names of all the pharmacies online that would be vaccinating New Yorker’s. Moore said during this time his phone was ringing off the hook- so much so that he had to add a second phone line. This statement Moore said was echoed all over by other pharmacists who were inundated by calls and unable to properly take care of their patients, some reporting that doctors were unable to get through the busy phone lines. Since then, New York State has taken the names of the pharmacies that will be providing the vaccine, off-line.
So how then do you find a vaccine at a pharmacy? How do you know where to look? Who to call? Moore said, the CDC has plans to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of vaccines that you can search for “in real-time” on the vaccine finder website https://vaccinefinder.org/find-vaccine. Until the CDC launches the COVID-19 vaccine aspect of the vaccine finder website, the best course of action is to check the websites for the national pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Stop & Shop and try to make an appointment. You also might want to check the FRPP site weekly to see which new pharmacy’s have been added to the list of pharmacies now vaccinating New Yorker’s.
Photo: FILE – In this March 17, 2020, file photo, Pharmacist Evelyn Kim, wears a mask and gloves at the CVS pharmacy at Target in the Tenleytown area of Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)