Demand for coronavirus vaccines is outstripping supply in the federal retail pharmacy program for the United States. CNN finds appointments are filling up quickly.
Many pharmacies told CNN this week that they can receive and administer far more vaccine doses than are arriving so far. Albertsons Companies Inc., a US grocery company headquartered in Boise, Idaho, is using less than 10% of its capacity, according to Albertsons spokesperson Andrew Whelan.
“We have the capabilities to administer 150,000 doses every single day and can take on about 90% more supply within our network,” Whelan told CNN.
Hy-Vee, a chain of supermarkets in the Midwest, told CNN that having more vaccine doses to administer to the public would be beneficial.
“The limited supply of the vaccine has been our biggest challenge,” said company spokesperson Christina Gayman. “We would love to vaccinate every single person who inquires, but supply is still limited.”
Meanwhile, Meijer Inc. has administered 66,000 doses since mid-January with an anticipated additional 30,000 this week, company representative Frank J. Guglielmi told CNN. Most doses have been administered in Michigan, where Meijer is both a state and federal vaccine partner.
“As far as support, we just need more vaccines,” Guglielmi said.
Walgreens, one of the first pharmacies to begin administering Covid-19 vaccines in December through a separate partnership with long-term care facilities, has administered more than 3 million vaccines as of Monday, with an allotment of 180,000 doses per week through the federal program, company spokesperson Kelli Teno told CNN.
“As we roll out to broader populations, vaccine demand has continued to outweigh inventory,” Teno said. “We share the enthusiasm of the nation in vaccinating people as quickly as possible, but patience is needed as vaccine inventory continues to build in the coming weeks and months and we’re able to vaccinate more communities.”