CVS Pharmacies throughout California are joining the massive COVID-19 vaccination effort, with appointments opening up at more than 100 locations statewide on Thursday.
Health care workers and residents 65 and older can go online to sign up for a dose, and those without online access can call customer service 800-746-7287.
Vaccines will only be administered to eligible residents with appointments beginning Friday. The online sign-up form gives people the option to choose whether they’d be getting their first or second dose, as well as enter a zip code to find the closest vaccine location.
The appointment registration page was intermittently unavailable Thursday, showing a message that there’s heavy website traffic.
Just around 20 of the locations’ appointments were fully booked in the afternoon, but most sites still had availabilities, including in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Inglewood, Glendale, West Hollywood, Pomona, Pasadena, Ventura, Santa Clarita, San Bernardino, San Clemente, Riverside and Irvine.
CVS joins the vaccine rollout as Los Angeles’ mass inoculation site at Dodger Stadium and other city-run vaccine centers were expected to shut down later this week due to a vaccine shortage.
While local jurisdictions get their doses from shipments allocated to states, CVS got approximately 250,000 doses straight from the federal government and is rolling out in-store vaccinations across 11 states.
Participating stores in California together have about 81,900 doses of the highly sought after shots, according to a company news release.
President Joe Biden’s administration officials announced last week they will be speeding up the inoculation effort by sending 1 million vaccine doses directly to pharmacies, in addition to freeing up more doses for states to distribute.
L.A. County receives about 200,000 doses weekly on average, and about half must be reserved for second doses.
This week, county-operated vaccine sites were prioritizing people getting their second dose.
And potentially complicating distribution efforts while vaccine availability remains scarce, more essential workers including law enforcement, educators and food workers will soon be eligible for a shot in the coming weeks, health officials announced Wednesday.
It’s unclear whether vaccine supplies would have ramped up by then, including at pharmacies like CVS.
“With very limited vaccine supply and uncertainty on timing for increased production, a realistic and carefully developed plan for expanding vaccination availability to these additional sectors is being developed,” L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a Wednesday briefing.
CVS isn’t the only pharmacy in the state to offer the shots. Albertsons, RiteAid, Pavilions and Ralphs pharmacies have all joined county-operated sites in administering shots in Southern California.
Here’s how to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino counties.