Federal Retail Pharmacy Partnership Program for COVID-19 Vaccination FAQs

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination is a collaboration between the federal government, pharmacy partners, and states and territories to increase access to COVID-19 vaccination across the United States. This partnership involves 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks, representing over 40,000 retail and long-term care pharmacy locations nationwide.

Questions for the general public

Individuals who are interested in getting vaccinated at their local pharmacy should check the pharmacy’s website to find out if COVID-19 vaccine is available. Additionally, most pharmacy locations are now offering walk-in vaccination appointments as supply allows. You can also visit Vaccines.gov; text your zip code to 438829 (GETVAX); call 1-800-232-0233; or check your state health department website. Visit How Do I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine to learn more.

This partnership involves 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks, representing more than 40,000 retail and long-term care pharmacy locations nationwide. It is important to know that markets may vary, and some pharmacies may not have vaccine or may have very limited supply.

Everyone 12 years of age and older is now recommended to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. Visit How Do I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine (cdc.gov) to learn more.

Screening will include checking for contraindications to COVID-19 vaccines—reasons why an individual should not receive the vaccine.

Pharmacies will not require proof of age, occupation, residency, or any other type of credentials.

COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge for everyone. Participating pharmacies will bill private and public insurance for the vaccine administration fee. For uninsured patients, this fee will be reimbursed through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fundexternal icon. No one will receive a bill for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Additional information about the program

CDC worked with states and territories to select initial pharmacy partners to start the program in their communities. Jurisdictions made selections based on a number of factors including the number of stores, the ability to reach some of the populations most at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (those over 65 years of age, socially vulnerable communities), and alignment with their existing vaccination plan.

About 40,000 retail locations are currently administering vaccine.

Weekly allocations are based on vaccine availability; more than half of each pharmacy partner’s vaccine supply is pro rata and proportional to each jurisdiction’s population. As vaccine supply increases, more retail locations continue to be added.

As the vaccine supply grows, pharmacy partners have expanded vaccination efforts in additional states and territories based on how they can best meet demand. CDC works with pharmacy partners to ensure equitable distribution, evaluate capacity, and prevent over-saturation in certain states or locations and under-saturation.

In addition to the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program highlighted above, CDC is offering the Pharmacy Transfer Program. This program allows states and territories to transfer their allocated vaccine doses to federal pharmacy partners to help vaccinate target populations in their communities. As the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program rolls out, jurisdictions may choose to change the number of doses they transfer to pharmacy partners.

Pharmacies not enrolled with CDC as COVID-19 vaccination providers can enroll directly with a state or territory’s immunization program to offer vaccination in their communities.

Yes. Three group purchasing organizations that represent long-term care (LTC) pharmacies* across the country—MHA, GeriMed, and Innovatix— and Omnicare LTC pharmacy are participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. Other pharmacy chains and networks that work in long-term care in some capacity are participating as well.

All of these partners will receive vaccine through the program to distribute to their member LTC pharmacies. Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) can check with their local LTC pharmacy to see if they are receiving vaccine through this program.

*A LTC pharmacy is a specialized pharmacy designed specifically to support individuals living in a LTC facility or community

Page last reviewed: April 12, 2021