Michigan officials are looking to speed up the COVID-19 vaccination rate in their state by expanding the process to include more pharmacies that can administer the shots.
The state on Friday confirmed that it asked the federal government for permission to deploy teams from Meijer, Kroger and other pharmacies to nursing homes because vaccinations are “going at a slower pace than we would like,” Crain’s Detroit Business reported.
Retailers CVS Health and Walgreens are currently administering doses free of charge to long-term care facilities across the country as part of a joint program with the federal government.
Walgreens and CVS are slated to provide more than 60,000 shots of Moderna vaccine per week to the state’s 207 long-term care facilities, which could take about eight weeks to complete. The companies had administered about 20,000 vaccines as of Friday, according to the report.
State officials said that both Meijer and Kroger have offered their pharmacy services to speed up the vaccination rates at long-term care facilities. Specifically, Meijer told the state its pharmacies could administer up to 30,000 shots per day.
“What we’re trying to work with the CDC on is adding pharmacy partners in the state of Michigan to the human resource component of that to help deliver more shots in arms more quickly,” Tricia Foster, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) point person on COVID vaccine distribution, told the news agency.
“If we can scale that back from six-to-eight weeks to two-to-three weeks, everybody wins,” she added.