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U.S. health officials are exploring a partnership with Dollar General to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is in talks with Dollar General to help accelerate the rollout in rural areas, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday.
Dollar General does not have pharmacies, but it has more than 17,000 stores in 46 states.
“That’s about three times the number of locations as Walmart and more than half as many as CVS and Walgreens, all three of which are delivering COVID-19 vaccines at some of their pharmacy locations,” USA Today reports.
Walgreens operates approximately 9,021 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, its website reads.
“In rural areas, residents often don’t have access to big-box stores,” Walensky said at the Health Action Alliance’s virtual National Business Summit, per USA Today. “We’re exploring a promising collaboration with Dollar General stores, which have locations that include refrigeration capacity within 10 or 15 miles of our rural communities in all but four states.”
The talks between the CDC and Dollar General come amid concern that many rural Americans won’t get vaccinated.
USA Today reports this could make the pandemic last longer.
“Individuals living in rural areas in the U.S. are significantly less likely to say they will get a COVID-19 vaccine that is deemed safe and available for free than individuals living in suburban and urban America,” according to Kaiser Family Foundation research published in January.