Walgreens and CVS began offering COVID vaccine booster shots to more eligible people across the country last week, but both chains are recommending appointments for those looking to schedule their shots.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention endorsed extra doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccines Thursday.
Walgreens said both Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster shots are now available in stores nationwide, though availability will vary by location.
Meanwhile, CVS Health announced that select pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations began offering the Moderna COVID-19 booster shot to eligible populations Friday, in addition to the previously authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster.
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According to the company more than 100 CVS locations across the Chicago area and 400 throughout Illinois will administer the doses.
- Those interested in getting a booster shot or initial vaccine doses can schedule an appointment through Walgreens here or call 1-800 Walgreens or a local Walgreens store.
- For CVS, appointments can be made here and "are strongly encouraged." When making an appointment, patients will be asked to provide the manufacturer and date of their last COVID-19 vaccine shot.
“The systems we’ve built and our deep experience in providing vaccinations allows us to play a leading role in administering booster shots to eligible populations,” said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CVS Health. “We also remain focused on providing easy and convenient opportunities for the unvaccinated to receive their first doses.”
Both pharmacy chains noted that eligible populations can now choose to receive a dose different from the one they received for their initial series, following new guidance from both the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration.
“Walgreens pharmacy teams are available to answer questions and make it easy to understand eligibility requirements and access COVID-19 vaccine, whether it’s a first dose or booster shot,” Rina Shah, group vice president pharmacy operations and services at Walgreens, said in a statement.
Walgreens said that while "it is recommended individuals receive the same product for their booster dose as they did for their primary series," if the original brand is not available or another brand is preferred, mixing and matching will be allowed.
In addition to previously-announced Pfizer vaccine booster shot eligibility, here's a look at who can now get the booster shots:
- Moderna COVID-19 Booster Eligibility: Eligibility requirements for Moderna and Pfizer-BioTech booster doses are the same. Individuals must wait at least six months after they complete their initial mRNA COVID-19 primary vaccine series to receive their booster dose. Eligible individuals include:
- Individuals aged 65 and older.
- Long-term care facility residents ages 18 and older.
- Individuals aged 18 and older with underlying medical conditions. Individuals ages 18 – 49 should consider individual benefits and risks, according to CDC guidance.
- Individuals ages 18-64 who are at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting, such as healthcare and essential workers, based on their individual benefits and risks.
- J&J COVID-19 Booster Eligibility: A single vaccine booster dose is recommended for individuals 18 and older who received a J&J primary dose at least 2 months after they receive their initial J&J primary vaccine dose.
- Mix & Match Guidance: In general, it is recommended individuals receive the same product for their booster dose as they did for their primary series.
- However, if the original product is not available or another product is preferred, mix and matching vaccines with any of the authorized COVID-19 vaccine boosters is allowed.
- The primary series of two-dose vaccines should still be completed with the same product for both doses.