Not all Kansas City pharmacies participating in new vaccine plan

Posted at 3:13 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 18:11:24-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With the mission to get more people vaccinated, the government plans to deliver 1 million doses to 6,500 pharmacies nationwide by next week.

"People should first make sure they meet their state's eligibility requirements for vaccinations and then check availability on their local pharmacy's website," Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said Tuesday.

A spokesperson from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said the agency was made aware of the National Retail Pharmacy plan would be activated, but did not immediately know how many does Kansas pharmacies would receive.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chose pharmacies associated with seven companies in Kansas:

1. Walmart
The biggest Kansas City area pharmacy group to confirm its participation in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program was Walmart/Sam's Club. In a blog post, Kansas and Missouri are among 22 states across the country that will participate in the retailer's initial effort, which starts late next week.

Exact Walmart and Sam's Club locations in the two states weren't immediately available.

The retailer, according to the blog, will set up scheduling tools on its Walmart and Sam's Club websites when vaccine doses are available.

Initial vaccine supplies will be limited, the company said, and it plans to follow state guidelines on who is eligible to receive a vaccine at a particular time.

2. The Kroger Co.
Kroger Health pharmacists in Kansas are among those in stores across seven states that will participate in the federal partnership, according to a news release. Twenty-two Dillons Pharmacies in Kansas also are included and will receive "very limited doses" of the Moderna vaccine.

Two Dillons Pharmacies in Lawrence – 4701 West Sixth Street and 1015 West 23rd Street – expected to have doses available, along with 10 in Wichita, three in Topeka, two in Hutchinson, two in Salina, and one each in Derby, Andover and Mahattan.

All pharmacies should have vaccines on Feb. 11, the release stated. Appointments, which are mandatory, can be scheduled online.

3. Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation’s pharmacy services administrative organization (PSAO), Elevate Provider
Good Neighbor Pharmacy sent this statement on Wednesday afternoon:

"Good Neighbor Pharmacy Network is proud to join the Federal Retail Program early and serve local, hard-to-reach priority populations that are at risk for severe illness quickly and efficiently. Select Good Neighbor Pharmacies stores in Kansas will be pulled forward into this early phase and begin receiving vaccine starting the week of February 8.

It is extremely important for Kansas residents to remember that supply is still limited and meant for prioritized populations at this time. Patients can keep abreast of vaccine availability updates from the Kansas Department of Health & Environment: and should contact their local health department to understand if they fit the prioritization criteria for vaccination now and if so, where they should go to receive their first shot."

4. LeaderNET and Medicine Shoppe, Cardinal Health’s PSAOs
Cardinal Health said in a statement that it contracted with the CDC in November so pharmacies could administer the vaccine.

"As a result, more than 4,300 retail independent, small chain and long-term care pharmacy customers are able to participate in the vaccine effort," the statement said.

More information about Cardinal Health's involvement can be found on its website.

CPESN USA has more than 300 pharmacies through Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma, and about 100 of which will participate in the "soft rollout" for COVID-19 vaccines, according to a statement provided to 4`1 Action News.

"Unfortunately, each of these pharmacies will be receiving a very small quantity of the vaccine over the first couple weeks," the statement said. "They have already identified (or shortly will be identifying) patients within their community that need the vaccine."

CPESN USA sites do not expect to receive enough vaccines "to accommodate all of the requests," according to the statement.

6. GeriMed

7. Health Mart Systems
While Health Mart Systems has a list of stories in Missouri and Kansas that will participate in the federal partnership, a spokesperson said that "depending on vaccine availability, that information will change daily."

Updates will be posted on Health Mart's website.

In Missouri, Walmart and Health Mart Systems will be involved in vaccine distribution.

Area grocer Hy-Vee said it would receive vaccines as part of the program starting Feb. 8. Those vaccines would go toward populations in Iowa and North Dakota.

In a press release, Walgreens said it would focus its efforts in specific cities and states to start: Chicago, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, New York City, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

The pharmacy said states and jurisdictions were selected with based on their social vulnerability index.

Walgreens said it will continue to work with its stores in other states where it has already started vaccinations. Those states do not include Kansas or Missouri.

According to NBC News, CVS Pharmacy is set to receive 250,000 doses from the federal government next week, which the company planned to distribute at 300 of its stores. A CVS spokesperson told 41 Action News that none of its pharmacies in Kansas or Missouri would be among the locations receiving the vaccine.

"To hear that it won't be accessible and easily accessible for some of the most vulnerable communities, I think it's an issue, a racial equity issue," Saidah Blount, who has helped her family sign up for vaccine, told 41 Action News.

Blount lives in New York City but has recently navigated the websites of local health departments to get her 78-year-old mother and 68-year-old aunt signed up to be inoculated.

"It just had so many clicks," Blount said, "and so many links and so many documents to read. This was just absolutely confusing so for them, it must just be a moment where you're absolutely frustrated and feel shut out."

It's a slice of growing frustrations as the pool of eligible people who want a vaccine only gets bigger.

"I think it would reopen the world to them," Blount said. "They've been extraordinarily cautious with, where they've been going, what they've been doing and how they interact with the world."