CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens offering extra COVID booster shot nationwide

Walgreens started administering the extra shots Friday

Major drugstore chains are urging Americans 50 years old and older to get a second COVID-19 booster shot at pharmacies nationwide, saying these additional vaccines are "critical" in the fight against the ongoing pandemic.  

The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for that age group and for people with severely weakened immune systems as long as it's been four months since their last vaccination. 

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(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File) (AP Newsroom)

Since then, Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid have encouraged eligible customers sign up for appointments online or through their apps. In some cases, the pharmacies are allowing walk-ins. 

Walgreens said it will begin administering additional booster of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to eligible patients on Friday. 

It comes at a time when the country is battling an uptick in cases in certain regions of the country, according to the pharmacy giant. 

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"With COVID-19 cases on the rise and vaccine immunity waning over time, older adults and those who are immunocompromised are at an increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19," said Walgreens Chief Medical Officer Kevin Ban. 

Ban said that "as we strive to reach a more manageable endemic state, it is critical for everyone to get up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters as they become eligible." 

Likewise, Rite Aid also began administering an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at its pharmacies around the nation. 

The Rite Aid chief pharmacy officer Karen Staniforth said "vaccination is critical in the continued fight against COVID-19." 

Rite Aid has administered over 15 million COVID-19 vaccinations to date. The company is also encouraging "anyone who hasn’t received their primary vaccination series to do so, and to get their booster shots when eligible."

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WBA WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC. 16.61 -1.21 -6.79%
CVS CVS HEALTH CORP. 57.40 -0.28 -0.49%
RAD n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a.

CVS told FOX Business Friday that eligible customers can make an appointment for an additional booster online or through the pharmacy's app. Its pharmacies are also welcoming same-day or walk-in appointments but "are subject to local demand," according to the company.  

There’s evidence protection can wane particularly in higher-risk groups, and for them another booster "will help save lives," FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks said.

Still, only about half of Americans eligible for a third shot have gotten one. The government urged everyone to get up to date on their shots. Two shots plus a booster still offer strong protection against severe illness and death, even during the winter surge of the super-contagious omicron variant. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.