HOUSTON – Some of the major pharmacies such as CVS, Walgreens and HEB in Houston plan to have vaccines available to the general public by springtime.
Families could be making their way to their local pharmacy for a COVID-19 vaccine by March or early April.
“We are prepared, we are ready to go,” said Lisa Helfman, director of public affairs for HEB Houston.
HEB has been working on plans for COVID-19 vaccine distributions for months.
They are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the federal government on a specific timeline but plans are constantly being updated.
“We already have the staff, we have the equipment, we have distribution logistics so we just stay in constant contact with the federal government to get these real-time answers,” Helfman said.
What HEB does know is it will be getting its first shipment very soon.
Those will go to frontline workers, then nursing home residents and employees.
In a few months, the general public.
“We are going to continue to encourage everyone to get it because everything that we’ve been told by the experts is that it’s safe and that’s why we are carrying it in our pharmacies,” Helfman said.
Walgreens is on a similar plan.
Next week, pharmacists will head to long-term care facilities to vaccinate residents and workers there too.
“We are encouraging people that when the vaccine becomes available to the general population that they schedule appt in advance,” said Dr. Kevin Ban, chief medical officer at Walgreens.
Walgreens health officials are also encouraging everyone to keep wearing masks, physically distancing and washing their hands.
“This is not going to be like turning on a light switch, it’s like turning up the dimmer switch, so progressively we will move towards herd immunity,” Dr. Ban said.
CVS stated that they plan to have COVID-19 vaccines available to the public by March, as well, at every one of their locations.
Once it’s available to the public at CVS, Walgreens or HEB, it will be at no cost to customers.