RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — CVS announced last week that they would begin to administer vaccines at 36 pharmacy locations in Virginia as early as Tuesday. Since then, they have pushed the vaccination start date back twice, with appointments now starting on Friday, February 12.

The slight pushback on the start date has been made to “ensure in-store availability.”

8News received messages from seniors who were able to get appointments Tuesday although CVS said their registration for vaccines would open on Thursday, Feb. 11.

CVS clarified this to 8News saying that, the Virginia Department of Health had asked the company to open their scheduling system early for those who pre-registered for a vaccine through their local department of health. 

CVS was able to accommodate the state’s request and people who pre-registered with their local health department are now able to book an appointment.

The company also said that starting Thursday, anyone over the age of 65, regardless of whether they have pre-registered with their local health department, will be able to look for appointments.     

CVS said appointments filled quickly today due to a limited supply of the vaccine. As the company receives additional doses next week, more appointments will open.

8News asked CVS why they have not started scheduling vaccines for those who qualify under phase 1b because of underlying health conditions and disabilities.

CVS responded by saying that they are following guidance given to them by the state specifically for the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination

We’ve been in ongoing discussions with the Virginia Department of Health to understand their vaccination program and determine the best ways to work together to ensure we are vaccinating as many Virginians as efficiently as possible. Opening early for Virginians who had pre-registered with their local health department was the agreed upon solution.”

Amy Thibault, corporate communications for CVS

VDH said the federal program supplements existing vaccination programs by providing 26,000 more vaccines to Virginians. CVS is the first of Virginia’s pharmacy partners in the federal pharmacy partnership.

More pharmacies and more locations are expected to start vaccinating patients in the future, VDH added.

Appointments can be made on CVS.com, using the CVS Pharmacy app or by calling 800-746-7287.