WASHINGTON – The White House is asking businesses to help employees get updated coronavirus vaccines by hosting on-site clinics and will initiate a new programme providing some Americans with free home delivery of Covid-19 treatments before an expected surge of the virus this fall.
President Joe Biden will announce the effort Tuesday at the White House, where he’s set to receive the latest version of the Covid-19 shot targeting the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants.
He’ll be joined by executives from major pharmacies including CVS Health Corp., Rite Aid Corp., and Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Only about 20 million Americans have received the latest version of the vaccine, according to data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitalisations and deaths from coronavirus have begun to rise in some European countries and areas of the US, as new versions of the virus have become better able to evade immunity from vaccines or previous infections to spread more widely.
The White House will release new guidance asking employers to host clinics for flu and coronavirus vaccines on site, e-mail workers urging them to get the shots, and offer paid time off for workers experiencing side effects.
The White House is also asking businesses to improve air quality in their buildings, and ask their employees to test regularly – and get treatment if they are infected.
As part of that push, Walgreens is expected to start a programme in coming weeks that will allow Americans living in areas designated by the government as “socially vulnerable” to fill prescriptions of Pfizer’s Paxlovid coronavirus treatment online, and have them delivered for free by Uber and DoorDash drivers.
CVS, Rite Aid, and Albertsons Cos. are providing customers with coupons and discounts if they receive an updated version of the booster. BLOOMBERG