COVID-19 Vaccine Background

McKesson’s role in distributing COVID-19 vaccines in support of the U.S. government

McKesson is honored to play a pivotal role to support the U.S. government during one of the world’s most significant healthcare challenges. First selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Aug. 14, 2020, the company is operating as a centralized distributor for COVID-19 vaccines and ancillary supply kits. Under the centralized model, the U.S. government directs McKesson on all aspects of distribution, including where and when to ship vaccines and ancillary supply kits to point-of-care sites across the country.

McKesson has a long history of managing the pharmaceutical and medical supply chains in the U.S. and is the largest U.S. seasonal flu vaccine distributor for the general public. Additionally, the company has been the centralized distributor for the CDC’s Vaccines for Children program for 13 years and acted as a centralized distributor during the H1N1 crisis.

Key COVID-19 Distribution Milestones:

  • Summer 2020: McKesson builds dedicated distribution centers, new technology systems and cold chain processes to manage this unprecedented undertaking in a matter of months.
  • Sept. 23, 2020: McKesson announces its contract with the Strategic National Stockpile – part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – to manage the assembly of ancillary supply kits needed to administer all COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Dec. 13, 2020: McKesson’s distribution efforts began when the company started shipping ancillary supply kits for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted it Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).
  • Dec. 20, 2020: Following the FDA’s EUA approval, McKesson begins distributing Moderna COVID-19 vaccines and ancillary supply kits needed to administer them.
  • March 1, 2021: Following the FDA’s EUA approval, McKesson begins distributing the COVID-19 vaccine from Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and ancillary supply kits needed to administer them.

Vaccine Types Distributed by McKesson

Under the FDA’s EUA, McKesson is currently distributing the following COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine (refrigerated/2-8˚C)
  • Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine (frozen/-20˚C)

McKesson will also distribute other future COVID-19 vaccines that are refrigerated. The Pfizer-BioNTech ultra-frozen COVID-19 vaccine is not being distributed by McKesson.

Vaccine Ancillary Supply Kits

McKesson’s Medical-Surgical business is producing and distributing ancillary supply kits for all COVID-19 vaccines at the direction of the U.S. government.

Ancillary supply kits include:

  • Alcohol prep pads
  • Face shields and surgical masks for vaccinators
  • Needles and syringes
  • Vaccine administration sheet for healthcare providers
  • Vaccination record and reminder cards
  • For COVID-19 vaccines that require reconstitution with diluent or mixing with adjuvant at the point of administration, other needed supplies will also be included

How to Order

Orders cannot be placed directly with McKesson. Please reach out to your state, local or tribal health department and/or the CDC.

CDC Resources

For more information about how the U.S. government is managing, distributing and tracking the dissemination of COVID-19 vaccines, please review the CDC materials below.

McKesson's Role in the COVID-19 Vaccine Process

McKesson Role in Distribution of COVID 19 Vaccines

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