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Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Grocers and pharmacies are adding freezers, thermometers and medical equipment to their inventories as they prepare to be major distributors of the COVID-19 vaccine, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Dozens of grocery and pharmacy chains have signed with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide the vaccine as part of Operation Warp Speed. The U.S. could be set to distribute the vaccine starting in mid-to-late December, with approval from the FDA potentially weeks away.

  • The providers will get doses directly from the CDC and will give them to customers at no cost, per WSJ. Fees for administering the vaccine will go to public or private insurers, with the government paying for uninsured people.

Grocers say they are well-positioned to provide vaccines because many people live in close proximity to their stores, per WSJ. They have typically provided vaccinations for other illnesses.

  • Supermarkets have historically provided medical services as a way to bring in customers.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns — New cases down
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release COVID vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.