US pharmacy giant CVS to add 15,000 workers ahead of flu season, Covid-19 vaccines

The drugstore giant has hired more than 76,000 people since March.
The drugstore giant has hired more than 76,000 people since March.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - The US pandemic is opening up jobs in at least one marketplace, with CVS Health Corp announcing it will hire about 15,000 workers to help with flu season, coronavirus testing and possibly administering Covid-19 vaccines.

Two-thirds of the new hires will be pharmacy technicians, the company said on Monday (Oct 19). The announcement comes a month after the the Department of Health and Human Services authorized state-licensed pharmacists to order and administer Covid-19 vaccines to people ages 3 or older, subject to certain requirements.

"We're estimating a much greater need for trained pharmacy technicians this year given the continued presence of Covid-19 in our communities," CVS's chief human resources officer Lisa Bisaccia said in a statement.

On Friday, CVS and Walgreens Boots Alliance were approved by the Department of Health and Human Services to give Covid-19 shots to residents and workers at US nursing homes.

The shots will be free to the facilities, HHS said in a release. Operators will choose which pharmacy they prefer to work with and will coordinate directly with them. Each chain boasts more than 9,000 locations across the country.

Residents and employees of long-term care facilities are slated to be among the first vaccinated because the novel coronavirus is especially dangerous in these settings. About 42 per cent of US coronavirus deaths have occurred among nursing home and assisted living residents, according to one estimate.

The drugstore giant has hired more than 76,000 people since March, a spokesman said. Retailers such as Walgreens, Amazon.com and Walmart have also hired thousands of people to meet pandemic demand.

Currently no Covid-19 vaccines have been authorized or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or recommended for use by CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. However, the Pharmacy Partnership for Long-term Care Program is being established in anticipation that one or more will be available before the end of the year.