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Coordinator of COVID-19 response and counselor to President Biden Jeff Zients. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

More than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to about 6,500 pharmacies across the U.S. beginning Feb. 11, the White House said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Local, national and supermarket pharmacies have an existing customer base, user portals and other established resources when it comes to mass flu and shingles immunization protocols. The federal government hopes this will expand access and speed up the vaccination process.

Yes, but: The demand for vaccine in these new channels is expected to far outweigh the supply, COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said in a press briefing Tuesday.

The state of play: The million doses are in addition to the 10.5 million doses that are scheduled to go to states, and other jurisdictions.

  • Eventually the federal government wants to reach 40,000 pharmacies to provide vaccinations.

The big picture: The U.S. government on Jan. 12 started to encourage states to open up vaccination eligibility to those 65 and older, and those 16 and older with certain medical conditions — or a third of the U.S. population.

What they're saying: "Millions of Americans turn to their local pharmacies every day for their medicines, flu shots, and much more. And pharmacies are readily accessible in most communities with most Americans living within five miles of a pharmacy," Zients said.

  • "People should first make sure they meet their state's eligibility requirements for vaccinations and then check availability on their local pharmacy's website. Equity is at the core of how the centers for disease control is working with states to select pharmacy partners for this first phase," he added.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Feb 2, 2021 - World

Bushfire burns Perth Hills homes while Australian city is on lockdown

A local resident takes a picture of the bushfire and Perth city center on her phone on Tuesday. Photo: Paul Kane/Getty Images

A massive uncontained bushfire has destroyed at least 30 homes in the Perth Hills, Western Australia, officials told the Australian Broadcasting corporation Tuesday.

Why it matters: Per state Premier Mark McGowan, "Right now WA is battling two different kinds of emergencies — a dangerous fire emergency and a COVID-19 lockdown emergency." He said there are "threats to lives and homes" from the wildfire.

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.