When tests for COVID-19 first became available, there was no place at the table for urgent care. Supplies were allocated elsewhere, while simultaneously patients were afraid of visiting urgent care center locations, lest they raise their risk of getting sick (a largely unfounded fear). The drop in patient visits and revenue has been well documented. Now as talk of the arrival of one or more vaccines against the virus heats up, there’s concern in some quarters that, again, urgent care may not be given the resources to participate. One possibility is that retail drugstores will be called on to administer COVID-19 vaccine. Walgreens and CVS each have around 10,000 stores, all working in concert under their respective company’s logo. Now consider that the roughly 14,000 urgent care centers in the U.S. are, except for multilocation chains, competitors who don’t coordinate efforts with each other. On the other hand, mainstream media outlets have reported that foot traffic is down in the retail drug setting, owing to the ripple effect of patients having fewer prescriptions to fill because they’ve been forgoing routine care. All this is transpiring while drugstores try to raise their profile as healthcare centers. Which way the pendulum swings when patients want the COVID-19 vaccine remains to be seen. (On a related note, remember that the College of Urgent Care Medicine is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer a free webinar, The U.S. Vaccination Strategy: An Update with the CDC , one Tuesday, October 27, at 1 pm, Central. For more information or to register for the webinar, click here.)

Arrival of the COVID-19 Vaccine Could Influence the State of Urgent Care and Retail Clinics for Years to Come
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