With the Food and Drug Administration granting emergency use authorization for booster shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for certain vulnerable groups, retailers will begin administering the third shots to eligible patients on Sept. 25.
CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart and Sam’s Club have all started offering the booster shot for patients older than 65 years old, long-term care facility residents, people between 18 and 64 whose underlying medical conditions put them at risk and people 18 to 64 who are at increased risk due to occupational or institutional setting. It needs to be at least six months since their last dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
CVS Health announced that select CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations are now offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shot to eligible populations beginning today, Friday, September 24.
"We have the experience and the infrastructure to play a leading role in administering booster shots to eligible populations," said Troyen Brennan, executive vice president and chief medical officer of CVS Health. "We also continue to make it as convenient as possible for the unvaccinated to receive their first doses."
“As a proud partner in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, Rite Aid is prepared to begin administering third-dose ‘boosters’ of the Pfizer vaccine starting immediately, in line with the CDC’s guidance,” Rite Aid said in a statement. “Customers may receive their booster dose at Rite Aid regardless of where they received their primary series.
Rite Aid is offering the boosters on a walk-in and scheduled basis beginning Sept. 25. The chain also noted that it is administering flu shots via appointment or walk-in. Rite Aid recently partnered with Clear to offer digital vaccine records and to make showing proof of COVID-19 vaccination easier for patients getting vaccinated at the chain.
At Walgreens, the company said patients can use its online appointment scheduler to book an appointment and verify eligibility, which can also be done at the time of the appointment. Patients can bring their COVID-19 vaccine dose card to be updated, or information about their initial doses if they want to receive a new card reflecting the booster dose. If they received their initial doses at Walgreens, patients can access their vaccination records via the retailer’s app or website. Walgreens also will be offering co-administration of flu shots at the same time as the booster doses, as well as booster doses to long-term care facilities in-store and via offsite clinics.
“Walgreens has played a vital role in responding to COVID-19 as millions have turned to us as a convenient vaccination destination and critical point of community care,” said John Standley, president of Walgreens. “In addition to providing booster shots, our pharmacy teams remain readily available to advise patients, address questions and co-administer flu and COVID-19 primary vaccines to help protect our communities.”
Walmart and Sam’s Club began administering boosters Friday, offering digital appointment scheduling and walk-in availability at its 5,100 pharmacies. The company also planned to use its quarterly Wellness Day event as an immunization event at more than 4,700 pharmacies to encourage vaccinations against COVID-19; the flu; measles mumps and rubella; varicella; HPV; tetanus; whooping cough and more. Walmart also is offering a digital vaccine record for anyone receiving their vaccines at its pharmacies. The company said it would be administering long-term care facility residents in stores and via offsite clinics, and would be working with community groups to administer vaccines and boosters to patients in rural and underserved areas.
“Thank you to our pharmacists, pharmacy techs, vision center associates and all our H&W associates who go the extra mile day after day to help our customers live healthier,” said Dr. John Wigneswaran, Walmart’s Chief Medical Officer. “Our commitment remains unwavering to meeting the health care needs of our communities in ways that are affordable and accessible to all, and we are proud to play an important role in administering vaccines, third doses and now booster shots.”