COVID-19 vaccine not available for RI, Mass. teachers through Walgreens

Coronavirus

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — While CVS Health has opened up COVID-19 vaccine appointments to teachers and other school staff in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, rival chain Walgreens has not followed suit.

The reason, a spokesperson for Walgreens said, is that CVS is participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program in those two states. But, while Walgreens is involved in the program in other states, it isn’t in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, in accordance with CDC guidance.

“The CDC selected Walgreens as a pharmacy partner in specific states and jurisdictions as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program to optimize vaccine access in medically underserved areas and areas with a high social vulnerability index score,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to 12 News.
“We are not part of this program in the state of Rhode Island. The same applies to Massachusetts.”

Both CVS and Walgreens are offering vaccine shots to people 65 and older at participating locations in both states.

On Monday, educators in Massachusetts will become eligible to make a vaccine appointment at any of the 170 clinics in the state.

Newly sworn-in Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee has continuously pushed for teachers and other school staffers to be prioritized, but as of Thursday, the only way for those who don’t currently fall into eligible categories to get a shot is through CVS.

Alexandra Leslie contributed to this report.

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