Salem Radio Network News Sunday, September 24, 2023


US pharmacy chains gear up to administer updated COVID shots

(Reuters) -U.S. drugstore chains CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance said on Wednesday that updated COVID-19 vaccines would be available at their stores as soon as this week.

Shots were being delivered in some locations on Wednesday, including at a Northwell Health facility in New York.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director on Tuesday signed off on broad use of updated COVID-19 vaccines, arming a push to align the next round of shots more closely with the circulating variant of the virus, much like annual flu shots are designed.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved an updated vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech as well as one by Moderna for people ages 12 and above. The agency has also authorized the shots for emergency use in children ages 6 months through 11 years.

Walgreens said it would start taking appointments for the updated vaccines from Monday, but could begin earlier appointments as stores receive vaccines this week.

Rite Aid said appointments would be live on Friday, while CVS said some pharmacies would begin receiving the new vaccines on Wednesday, with all pharmacy locations expected to have vaccinations in stock by early next week.

Retail chain Walmart did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The U.S. government ended the COVID public health emergency declaration in May and handed over the responsibility for vaccinations to the private sector. Demand for the vaccines has dropped sharply since.

COVID shots will still be free for most Americans with health insurance coverage and the government has said it is working on a program to provide the vaccines for free to people without insurance.

(Reporting by Christy Santhosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)


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