Major chains, local pharmacies, hospitals offering coronavirus vaccine booster shots
Posted September 24, 2021 10:45 a.m. EDT
Updated September 24, 2021 6:57 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Walmart, Walgreens and CVS pharmacies will be offering Pfizer coronavirus vaccine booster shots to eligible groups at stores nationwide by Saturday.
Late Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommended the booster shot for people who live or work in settings that come with a high risk for exposure, as well as senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems.
The CDC hasn't yet considered booster shots for the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
The Pfizer booster is recommended for those 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities and anyone 18 or older who has an underlying medical condition or who works in a occupation where there is increased risk for COVID-19 exposure. It's given six months after the "primary series" of the vaccine.
The CDC says it is safe to make that pharmacy visit a two-for-one. People can get a COVID-19 shot and a vaccination against the flu or another illness on the same day.
Walmart and Sam's Club are offering boosters without an appointment. Those stores will hold a quarterly Wellness Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Customers can walk in to receive a variety of immunizations, company officials said.
A CVS spokesperson told WRAL News on Friday that stores "will be ready to provide the booster dose at CVS Pharmacy and select MinuteClinic locations that offer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine later today."
Appointments are encouraged and can be booked at CVS.com.
Beginning Saturday, people seeking a Pfizer booster shot can make an appointment online or by calling a local Walgreens. Walk-in appointments started Friday.
Brent Talley, the owner of Hayes Barton Pharmacy in Raleigh, said he started getting calls about booster shots as soon as the pharmacy opened Friday.
“The first thing we did when we walked in the store today – that is the very first call we picked up," Talley said. "We have already been taking patients and getting people knocked out. We are already doing appointments in store and working with the church across the street to offer a bigger space.”
The pharmacy won't give boosters to people just walking in the door, however.
"There would probably be a line out the door. We are trying to avoid that confusion and frustration,” Talley said.
Quinton Green has already made his appointment for another shot of vaccine.
“I want all the protection I can get,” Green said.
Some hospital systems in central North Carolina are rolling out boosters for groups approved to once again roll up their sleeves.
Cape Fear Valley Health System in Fayetteville plans to offer shots at its vaccine clinic locations and primary care offices, starting Monday. Appointments are recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. officials said.
Meanwhile, Duke University Health System started giving booster shots to its frontline health care workers on Friday.
"We will have the capacity to offer the Pfizer booster dose to a broader group of eligible employees starting Monday," officials said in a statement. "We were prepared to move swiftly on this as our top priority is taking care of our patients, their loved-ones and each other."