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Publix, Winn-Dixie Among Stores Announced To Carry Eventual COVID-19 Vaccine

Taimy Alvare
Associated Press
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine phlebotomist Mayra Fernandez takes a blood sample from a vaccine study participant Julio Li, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Miami.

Although no vaccine is yet approved for distribution, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced a long list of distribution partners nationwide who are committing to administer one.

“Ensuring access and affordability of the COVID-19 vaccine for all Americans is a top priority for the Trump Administration,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a Thursday news release.

Editor's Note: Since this story was originally published,  Moderna announced Monday that its experimental vaccine has been 94.5% effective in preventing COVID-19

On the First Coast, the list of companies announced to distribute a vaccine when it becomes available include:

  • Costco Wholesale clubs
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Harveys
  • Publix Super Markets
  • Food Lion
  • Sam's Club
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart
  • Winn-Dixie

“We are leveraging the existing private sector infrastructure to get safe and effective vaccines supported by Operation Warp Speed into communities and into arms as quickly as possible with no out-of-pocket costs,” said Azar.

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

Currently, U.S. drug maker Pfizer appears to have a leading vaccine candidate, which the company said has been found to be 90% effective in trials.  NPR reported the U.S. government has promised to buy nearly $2 billion worth of Pfizer's vaccine, if it receives regulatory approval.

However, the Pfizer vaccine needs to be maintained, stored and transported at extraordinarily low temperatures, according  to Rachel Silverman at the nonprofit Center for Global Development in Washington, D.C . "And when I say extraordinarily low I mean, minus 80 degrees Celsius,she told NPR.

That's equivalent to minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit – and much colder than a typical freezer, which runs at about 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

"In the U.S. they're projecting it's going to be very difficult for this vaccine to be administered in just a normal doctor's office," Silverman said.

The HHS news release didn’t address whether the distribution points it announced would be able handle the special conditions the Pfizer vaccine requires if it were to be approved.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.