Covid-19 vaccine (copy)

A nurse at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital portions out doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in December 2020.

The negative reaction to news on Tuesday that two of the cities in Monterey County least impacted by Covid-19—Monterey and Carmel—were getting federally sourced vaccines at CVS locations was swift. The CVS response to it came equally swift. Now one of the most impacted cities, Salinas, will be getting the vaccines at the same time as the Peninsula.

CVS is expected to announce next week the exact pharmacy in Salinas that will be administering vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, a public/private partnership between the Biden Administration and pharmacy chains across the country.

A CVS spokesperson says the list of all locations—which has grown from 100 to 120 in California—will be released when pharmacies have the vaccines in hand, expected to be Feb. 11, with vaccinations beginning possibly the next day.

On Wednesday, Monterey County Board of Supervisors Chair Wendy Root Askew, on behalf of the board, sent a letter to CVS Health President and CEO Karen S. Lynch expressing concern over the selection of two Peninsula cities where cases, hospitalizations and deaths have remained relatively low compared to the Salinas Valley.

Askew cc'd every state and federal elected official representing Monterey County that might have some sway with the Biden Administration, including Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Carmel. She also cc'd the new Centers for Disease Control director chosen by Pres. Joe Biden, Rochelle P. Walensky.

By late yesterday afternoon, word came down that Salinas was being added as a site.

"We are currently planning to go live on Feb. 11 with the digital scheduler, with a launch date on Feb. 12, depending on when vaccine allocations arrive in stores," says Monica Prinzing, CVS senior communications consultant for the Western region, by email.

"Customers should continue to check availability on CVS.com. Vaccinations will be by appointment-only and we want to encourage eligible patients to use our online scheduling tool to find a location that is convenient for them to access," says Prinzing.

"As more vaccine supply becomes available, we expect to add more locations and appointments statewide."

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