MAINE, USA — Walgreens pharmacies in Maine and New Hampshire will begin offering in-store COVID-19 vaccinations starting February 25, the company announced Friday.
The Maine CDC said more than 40 locations in the state will offer the shots, but neither the Maine CDC, nor Walgreens, specified which locations when asked.
Walgreens will receive a weekly allocation of more than 480,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses and support administration in more than 25 states and jurisdictions, including Maine and New Hampshire.
While supply remains limited, individuals eligible to receive the vaccine under the federal and state programs can schedule appointments by visiting Walgreens.com/ScheduleVaccine or through their state department of health website. You may need to create a Walgreens account in order to register.
Currently, only Mainers 70 and older are eligible for vaccination in Phase 1b, after which Maine will move to open vaccinating residents age 65 to 69.
Walgreens began in-store vaccinations in 17 states and jurisdictions as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program on Feb. 12. The company administered nearly all 180,000 doses of the first weekly vaccine allotment within three days.
Walgreens and CVS have been helping to administer vaccine clinics at long-term care facilities across the country, including in Maine, through a partnership with the federal government.
Dr. Shah said the supply that Walgreens and other retail pharmacies, such as Walmart, receives from the federal government, is separate from the allocation the Maine CDC receives and then distributes to hospitals and clinics.
"We are not taking vaccine away from other consortia. They are distinct. All of it is in service of getting as many Maine people vaccinated as possible," said Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah.
As part of its plan to ramp of COVID-19 vaccinations, the Biden administration announced earlier this month that more than 6,500 pharmacies across the U.S. would receive a total of 1 million doses of vaccine. The number of participating pharmacies, and the allocation of vaccines, are expected to accelerate as drugmakers increase production.
Drug stores have become a mainstay for flu shots and shingles vaccines, and the industry is capable of vaccinating tens of millions of people monthly.
“This will provide more sites for people to get vaccinated in their communities,” coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients previously said.
When Walmart and Sam's Club first made appointments available on February 12, the slots filled up quickly, and that scenario keeps repeating as the weeks go on.
"That's just evidence of continued demand," Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said.
Shah said he and the Maine CDC hope to continue working with commercial pharmacies "to make vaccine even more available in different parts of the state."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.