PHILADELPHIA - Two of the region's largest grocery store chains will take part in a federal push to distribute a free coronavirus vaccine to millions of Americans once it is authorized.
As part of the Health and Human Services (HHS) partnership with grocery stores, pharmacies and drug stores across the nation, ACME and GIANT will receive an allocation of an anticipated vaccination.
“When a vaccine is ready, our pharmacists will play a critical role in administering this important public health service," ACME Director of Pharmacy Janis Levit said.
The partnership covers about 3 in 5 pharmacies in all 50 states and U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico. It looks ahead to a time next spring when yet-to-be-approved vaccines will start to become available beyond priority groups such as health care workers and nursing home residents.
Together, ACME and GIANT account for more than 350 stores with 234 pharmacies around the Delaware Valley and beyond.
“Being part of this federal pharmacy program lays the groundwork once a vaccine is available to help increase access to and distribution of the vaccine," GIANT Director of Pharmacy Operations Leigh Shirley said.
The announcement comes as the nation is seeing its broadest virus surge of the pandemic. The United States reported its highest daily increase of infections on Thursday with more than 144K positive tests.
Likewise, Pennsylvania surged past its daily record on Thursday, and officials in New Jersey have begun tightening restrictions amid the second wave of the pandemic that has killed more than 240,000.
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