WOONSOCKET, R.I. (NEWS10) — CVS Health has formally launched its COVID-19 vaccination program for long-term care facilities, which have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

CVS Pharmacy teams will administer the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine in facilities across 12 states this week, and the company expects to vaccinate up to four million residents and staff at over 40,000 long-term care facilities across the country.

“Today’s rollout is the culmination of months of internal planning and demonstrates how the private sector can use its expertise to help solve some of our most critical challenges,” said Larry J. Merlo, President and Chief Executive Officer, CVS Health. “I’m grateful for the herculean efforts of everyone involved, including our health care professionals who will be deployed throughout the country to bring peace of mind to long-term care facility residents, staff, and their loved ones.”

CVS Pharmacy teams will make three visits to each long-term care facility to ensure residents and staff receive their initial shot and critical booster. The majority of residents and staff will be fully vaccinated three to four weeks after the first visit, depending on which vaccine they receive. CVS Health expects to complete its long-term care facility vaccination effort in approximately 12 weeks.

CVS Health will administer COVID-19 vaccinations starting this week in the following states:

  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Vermont

Vaccinations will begin in 36 more states, including Virginia and North Carolina as well as the District of Columbia, on Dec. 28. Puerto Rico will activate on Jan. 4.

The long-term care facility vaccination effort is a precursor to the eventual availability of COVID-19 vaccines at all CVS Pharmacy locations throughout the country subject to product availability and prioritization of populations, which will be determined by states. Vaccines in a retail setting will be offered on an appointment-only basis via CVS’s website or through the CVS Pharmacy app, and there will be a dedicated phone number for people without online access. CVS Pharmacy will have the capacity to administer 20-25 million shots per month.

“Vaccinating one of our most vulnerable populations is the latest milestone in our multifaceted pandemic response, which includes testing more than 10 million people for the virus since March,” stated Karen S. Lynch, currently Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, Aetna. “The eventual availability of COVID-19 vaccines in communities across the country will bring us one step closer to overcoming the most significant health challenge of our lifetime.”

Earlier this month, CVS Health was selected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as one of two providers to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. CVS says their healthcare professionals – pharmacists, nurses and licensed pharmacy technicians – are very familiar with this patient population. This expertise will be applied to this national effort to safely and efficiently distribute COVID-19 vaccines.