Fairfax Co. top politician ‘frustrated’ by CVS’ independent vaccine process

The head of the Board of Supervisors in Fairfax County, Virginia, believes the rollout of CVS’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts has confused residents about the process as a whole.

“This announcement, with no coordination with Fairfax County and no coordination with our health department, has been very frustrating for us this week,” Jeffrey McKay told WTOP.

CVS announced last week that 38 stores in Virginia would begin vaccinating 200 people a day, and that includes a pharmacy in off Little River Turnpike in Annandale.

McKay said the county, which is managing its own vaccination registration system, only learned of CVS’s vaccination efforts when the general public did. That led to residents contacting the county with concerns about how CVS’s plans will impact the county’s vaccination efforts.

“The misinformation that’s out there, and the confusion that things like this bring on because they’re not well coordinated, cause unnecessary anxiety and stress among people,” McKay said.

CVS’s effort and the county’s vaccination efforts are separate, according to McKay.

Amy Thibault, a spokesperson for CVS said answering a request from the Virginia Department of Health, CVS opened it’s registration early.

“Only those who were 65+ and had pre-registered with their local health department were allowed to register on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Thibault said.

Thibault added that the Virginia Department of Health said CVS could allow anyone who qualifies to get the vaccine to register beginning on Thursday.

While McKay said he doesn’t take issue with the selection of the Annandale CVS location, he does have questions about how stores were selected and why more locations couldn’t be used.

“How in a county of 1.2 million people can you have one store doing this? Who determined where that was? Why that location?” McKay said.

To that, Thibault said locations were chosen based on population density and demographics, as well as CDC data with a goal of reaching the most in-need populations.

“We also selected locations with layouts best suited for setting up vaccination clinics and the ability to safely manage social distancing within our stores,” Thibault said.

Thibault said CVS plans to add more locations for vaccinations once it receives more vaccine doses.

McKay also raised concerns about not having a clear view of CVS’s vetting process for those applying for the vaccine.

“We have a very sophisticated way to vet people and to make sure that, in fairness, we’re vaccinating people in the order that they come in and that we are making sure they meet the qualifications to be eligible for a vaccination at this stage of the roll out and it’s unclear to me you know how CVS is doing that,” McKay said.

In response to that, Thibault said the process begins with patients providing truthful and accurate information while setting up an appointment on the CVS website.

“We reserve the right to cancel appointments if it is determined that information provided for establishing eligibility is not truthful.” Thibault said.

While McKay said he is happy CVS is vaccinating people and obtaining vaccines that don’t subtract doses from the county’s allotment, he would have liked to see the county be a part of the conversation before the roll out.

“Going rogue without communicating with the people who, on the ground, are running a vaccination system just doesn’t seem like government working well with each other, and that’s frustrating,” McKay said.

McKay urges residents to maintain their pre-registration Fairfax County Health District since he said it is vaccinating 14,000 people a week. Although, McKay does fully expect some people to get in-line for both CVS and the county, to see which offers them a vaccination first.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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