Following on the heels of the Food and Drug Administration authorizing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending updated COVID-19 boosters to eligible individuals ages 5 years and older, several retailers, including Walgreens, Rite Aid, Bartell Drugs and Giant announced they are providing the shots.
Walgreens said that scheduling an appointment is preferred via the Walgreens app, 1-800-Walgreens, or online here. Walgreens offers convenient, neighborhood locations and appointments that fit family schedules, including evenings and weekends, the company said.
The updated COVID-19 booster offers more effective protection against COVID-19, including Omicron BA.4 and BA.5, the latest variants and the dominant virus strains in the United States.
“With this expanded authorization, nearly everyone can receive the updated COVID-19 booster at Walgreens. It is important that all eligible family members – both adults and children – get vaccinated with an updated booster dose, in addition to an annual flu shot to be protected this season,” said Anita Patel, vice president, pharmacy services development, Walgreens. “The booster for younger populations means added protection from a new COVID-19 infection, which will help alleviate concerns parents may have as their children attend school and participate in more activities indoors.”
The recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom is being regarded as a warning sign that the U.S. will see a similar increase in COVID-19 activity as soon as people are spending more time indoors and many respiratory viruses are circulating. Therefore, getting up to date on recommended vaccines like the updated COVID-19 booster and flu shot remains a critical preventive measure to provide added protection and help lessen the severity of disease, public health officials recommend.
Walgreens noted that children ages 5 to 11 who completed a COVID-19 vaccine primary series or received a booster dose at least two months ago can now receive an updated COVID-19 booster dose. Children ages 5 years and older are eligible to receive Pfizer’s updated COVID-19 booster dose, and children ages 6 years and older are eligible to receive Pfizer’s or Moderna’s updated COVID-19 booster dose.
Walgreens said that date of birth is needed to confirm eligibility. Parents or legal guardians scheduling an appointment need to enter the birthdate of the child to be vaccinated to ensure they receive the appropriate vaccine. Once confirmed, the scheduler will guide customers to locations where vaccines are available for their age group.
All children must have a parent or legal guardian schedule an appointment on their behalf using Walgreens guest scheduling capabilities, and a parent or legal guardian must be present at the time of vaccination.
To save a trip, children receiving an updated COVID-19 booster also can get a flu shot or other CDC recommended routine immunizations during a single visit, Walgreens said.
Rite Aid locations, including Bartell Drugs in the Pacific Northwest, also announced that they are offering updated boosters of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for children ages five years and older.
“Approval of the updated booster for our pediatric population allows us to continue to help our communities fight COVID-19,” said Karen Staniforth, chief pharmacy officer at Rite Aid. “This vaccine will help restore protection that has waned since the previous dose. With cooler weather upon us and people gathering more indoors, we urge our communities to stay up-to-date on their vaccines to protect themselves and others.”
Appointments are based on vaccine availability. Children must be accompanied by an adult to their vaccine appointment. Customers may receive their updated booster dose at Rite Aid or Bartell Drugs regardless of where they received their primary series or previous booster(s). Updated booster doses can be mixed and matched with primary vaccination series and previous boosters, so customers can get either brand of the updated booster no matter which brand had been previously administered.
In addition to staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations, Rite also recommends customers schedule their flu shot which can be received at the same time as the updated COVID booster. The CDC recommends everyone six months of age and older receive a flu vaccine each season with rare exception, and this year the agency is encouraging everyone to get their vaccination by Halloween to be prepared for flu season.
Many Giant pharmacies have updated Moderna boosters for children ages 6 years or older. Select Giant pharmacy locations will receive updated Pfizer boosters for children ages 5 to 11, the week of Oct. 24.