(WFRV) – The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program launched this week in Wisconsin and plans to play an important role in accelerating vaccination efforts in underserved communities.

According to officials, the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program will start small and expand as more vaccines become available. Wisconsin will launch the program with 178 Walgreens locations across the state, with the majority of sites located in underserved areas.

“This partnership is another tool to support the great work that local public health is doing in our communities. Just last week alone, we got over 200,000 shots in the arms of Wisconsinites, and I want to express my sincere gratitude to our vaccinators for this work,” says Gov. Tony Evers.

The federal government will directly ship 17,800 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to the 178 Walgreens locations, during the first week. The nearly 18,000 doses will not be taken out of Wisconsin’s weekly allocation.

Some milestones were reached this week as the DHS says, nearly one in three individuals age 65 or over have received at least the first dose of vaccine.

In just under two months since the first vaccine arrived in Wisconsin:

  • Over 860,389 vaccinations have been given
  • 197,362 Wisconsinites have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19

“Our vaccine team and partners across the state have made significant progress in getting Wisconsin protected against COVID-19,” says DHS Interim Secretary Karen Timberlake.

Those currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are:

  • Frontline health care personnel 
  • Residents in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities
  • Police, fire personnel, and correctional staff
  • Adults ages 65 and over

For more information visit their website.