President-elect Joe Biden plans to use FEMA and the National Guard to build coronavirus vaccine clinics across the United States, according to new details of his Covid-19 vaccination plan released by his transition team on Friday.
The Biden administration will also “quickly jumpstart” efforts to make the vaccines available at local pharmacies across the U.S., which should ensure that Americans have access to doses at facilities not far from their homes, according to the plan.
“Here’s the deal: The more people we vaccinate, the faster we do it, the sooner we can save lives and put this pandemic behind us and get back to our lives and loved ones,” Biden said at a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, Thursday night. “We won’t get out of it overnight, and we can’t do it as a separated nation.”
Drugstore chains and pharmacies were supposed to take on a larger role in distributing the vaccine once the government expanded access to more people. But the slower-than-expected rollout has frustrated pharmacy chains. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores called on the federal government earlier this week to allow states to send more doses directly to pharmacies as they do with hospitals and health departments.
The group estimated that the country’s retail pharmacies could administer at least 100 million doses of vaccines each month, which would exceed the incoming administration’s promise of 100 million shots in 100 days.
The Biden administration has said current vaccination efforts are not sufficient to quickly and equitably vaccinate the vast majority of the U.S. population, adding, “We must ensure that those on the ground have what they need to get vaccinations into people’s arms.”