CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens are among the first companies offering third doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to Americans with compromised immune systems.
Immunocompromised people might have weakened immune systems due to cancer treatment, stem cell or organ transplants, HIV or immunosuppressive treatments.
Such patients were among the earliest recipients of the COVID-19 vaccines this winter. With the rise of the more infectious delta variant, experts agreed to offer another round of the vaccine to those with weakened immune systems.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration greenlit third doses for the immunocompromised late Thursday night. The next afternoon, an advisory panel with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted unanimously in favor of the additional dose.
On Friday, Walgreens began administering additional doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
"Walgreens is committed to administering COVID-19 vaccines to our most vulnerable populations as quickly and safely as possible," Walgreens Chief Medical Officer. Kevin Ban said in a news release. "As one of the first companies to begin providing these vaccines, we have an experienced team of pharmacists and technicians, as well as the infrastructure to support the increased demand for these vaccines."
A spokesperson with CVS Health also confirmed their pharmacies began offering appointments for third doses to eligible immunocompromised patients on Saturday.
A medic places two vials of COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines (L to R): Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, on a table before administering doses at a Clalit Health Services Medical Centre in east Jerusalem on Aug 10, 2021. (Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty I
Only a small percentage of American adults will qualify for the third dose. According to the CDC, immunocompromised people make up less than 3% of American adults.
Both companies encourage eligible patients to make appointments online. Those who sign up will have to prove their eligibility during the scheduling process.
Recipients must be at least 18 to take the Moderna shot and at least 12 to take the Pfizer jab. It is advised the third dose comes from the same brand as the initial two shots.
This story was reported from Atlanta.