Last week, the first phase of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program launched. It started on February 11, the federal government will ship COVID-19 vaccines directly to some pharmacies on top of allocations to states. It will start with about 1 million doses per week that will go to 6,500 retail pharmacies across the country, eventually increasing to 40,000 drug stores. The program includes 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks to increase the access to Covid 19 vaccination across the country. Places where you can get the vaccine at are Walgreens, CVS Pharmacy, Walmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, Publix, Costco, Hy-Vee. Federal and state authorities have developed guidelines to prioritize vulnerable populations in the first phase of the distribution of COVID 19 vaccines. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended these groups be prioritized before the general public. Phase 1a includes health care workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. Phase 1b is for frontline essential workers and adults 75 years of age and older. Phase 1c is for adults 65-74 years of age, individuals age 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers. In early January, the federal administration expanded Phase 1b to include adults 65 years of age and older. The vaccine is free.
El Monte is offering ways for seniors to find assistance when making vaccine appointments and offering free rides to the vaccine site at the Pomona Fairplex Center, also the El Monte Community Services Department will have staff dedicated to help seniors make their appointments for the COVID vaccine. “The more resources that we can provide in our city, it’s a benefit,” said El Monte Mayor, Pro Tem, Victoria Martínez Muela to the San Gabriel Tribune. “We’re an awesome community where we’ve got transportation avenues that other communities don’t have. If we can maximize that and utilize first mile, last mile modes of transportation, getting people there and back, especially during this incredible pandemic, it’s smart policy for us to maximize our resources.”
Salvador Mendez, the El Monte Public Works Director, helped secure funding through the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The El Monte Transportation Division is offering temporary Dial A Ride cards by calling (626) 580-2217. To make an appointment for a ride to the COVID- 19 vaccine site, call (626) 307-3224.