Syringes

A health professional reaches for a handful of syringes during a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Monday in Nogales.

Beginning on Friday, local residents will have another option for COVID-19 inoculation: the local Walgreens, at the corner of Grand Avenue and Mariposa Road in Nogales.

Store personnel say that appointments aren’t available in-person or over the phone, but can be made by creating an account on the company’s website.

The Walgreens website states that vaccine eligibility is determined by state and local rules and includes a link to an Arizona Department of Health Services web page, which shows Santa Cruz County in Phase 1B. The local store manager didn’t say how many doses would be available at the Nogales Walgreens, but said that, for now, appointments are available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Walgreens is offering the vaccine as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination, a government program that’s sending vaccine doses to thousands of retail pharmacies across the country and covering the cost for residents of the United States, according to a fact sheet from the Centers for Disease Control.

Vaccination providers can charge a vaccine administration fee to health insurers, Medicaid or Medicare, but individuals cannot be denied a vaccine due to inability to pay or lack of health insurance.

At Walgreens, the vaccine "will be available at no cost to those receiving it," a corporate spokesperson told the NI in an email. "For anyone without insurance, there is a program set up to cover the administration fee through Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program."

The federal program will eventually send vaccine doses to more than 40,000 retail locations across the country, including major chains like Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and others.

The Nogales Walmart, however, won’t have COVID-19 shots available because the company isn’t working with the federal program in Arizona. The same is true for Food City, whose parent company Topco is a program partner in other states, but not Arizona.

Albertsons, the parent company of Safeway, is working with the federal program in Arizona, but the Nogales Safeway won’t get vaccine doses because it doesn’t have a pharmacy.

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