CVS, Walgreens and other pharmacies start rolling out latest COVID booster

Pharmacies nationwide have started rolling out updated COVID-19 boosters that target the most common omicron strain.

The new recalls were authorized by federal health officials earlier this week in hopes of preventing another winter surge of cases while simultaneously reducing the continued spread of BA.5 omicron cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has counted more than 94.3 million cases in the United States and more than one million deaths. The agency says 34.8% of Americans ages 5 and older received the first booster dose.

Previously, COVID-19 vaccines targeted the original coronavirus strain, even as wildly different mutants emerged. However, the new American boosters are combined or “bivalent” shots. They contain half of the original vaccine recipe and half of the protection against the latest versions of omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, which are considered the most contagious to date.

CDC APPROVES UPDATED COVID-19 VACCINES TARGETING OMICRON VARIANT

Individuals 18 years of age or older can receive the Moderna bivalent COVID-19 booster as long as at least two months have passed after their primary or booster vaccination. Individuals at least 12 years of age can receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent booster as long as it has been at least two months since their primary or booster vaccination.

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mRNA MODERNA INC. 138.57 -0.38 -0.27%
DFP PFIZER INC. 45.70 -0.93 -1.99%
BNTX BIONTECH SE 147.90 +0.09 +0.06%

Additionally, patients can either receive a booster regardless of the primary dose series or which booster vaccine they previously received.

A Jackson, Mississippi resident receives a Pfizer booster shot at the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center on Feb. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis/AP Newsroom)

Under the federal retail pharmacy program, 21 national pharmaceutical partners and independent pharmacy networks are working to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines, according to the CDC. The list includes Albertsons, Kroger, Publix Super Markets, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart.

As of August 18, 2022, program participants have administered over 263.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Here are a few companies that have already announced information on how to get the latest booster:

SVC

CVS Pharmacy locations offer Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccines nationwide. Pharmacies are receiving the reminders on an ongoing basis over the next few days and weeks, CVS said.

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Appointments can be booked online and through the company’s app, but as the initial offer is limited, “patients who wish to receive updated reminders are encouraged to book appointments using our digital planner,” the company said.

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SVC CVS HEALTH CORP. 99.44 -0.49 -0.49%
GDR RITE AID CORP. 6.85 +0.10 +1.48%

Ritual Aid

Rite Aid told FOX Business on Friday it plans to get updated boosters to venues as early as next week.

“We will advise customers how to schedule their upgraded booster and encourage them to continue to check Riteaid.com for the latest information,” a Rite Aid spokesperson said in a statement.

vaccine

A healthcare worker administers a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary vaccination center in Guatemala City, Tuesday, March 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo/AP Newsroom)

Walgreens

Walgreens also announced that it is offering both the Pfizer and Moderna boosters to eligible people who have completed a primary round of COVID-19 vaccines or received a booster dose at least two months ago.

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Walgreens says making an appointment is best. Patients can book appointments online, by calling, or through the company’s app. However, the company said additional appointments would be added daily as select stores begin receiving updated COVID-19 boosters.

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WMT WALMART INC. 133.00 -1.48 -1.10%
WBA WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC. 35.27 +0.01 +0.03%

walmart

Walmart told FOX Business that Walmart and Sam’s Club administer and distribute all licensed vaccines and treatments related to COVID-19 and that its “pharmacists stand ready to administer bivalent boosters as supply permits.”

Patients can use the company’s digital scheduler to book appointments, but the company also offers walk-in appointments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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