New York Daily News

Walgreens is slapped for delaying 2nd Pfizer shot

- Nancy Dillon

Walgreens tried to call its own shot when it came to timing a second dose of the Pfizer’s COVID vaccine — making recipients wait an extra week beyond a recommende­d 21 days.

Patients are supposed to get two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine spaced three weeks apart, federal health officials have said, but Walgreens was spacing the shots four weeks apart for its own convenienc­e, the Daily News confirmed.

Walgreens also is administer­ing Moderna’s COVID vaccine, which is given in two doses spaced four weeks apart.

Using the same 28-day waiting period for both vaccines was “the easiest way to stand up the process based on our capabiliti­es at the time,” Dr. Kevin Ban, Walgreens chief medical officer, told The New York Times, which first reported the change.

Walgreens said it’ll now start scheduling Pfizer doses three weeks apart.

“We have worked closely with the CDC, federal, state and local government officials on

COVID-19 vaccine distributi­on from the outset, and this includes recommende­d scheduling intervals for all vaccines,” Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman told The News.

“The CDC states that second doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be administer­ed up to 42 days after the first dose, but no earlier than the recommende­d interval of 21 and 28 days respective­ly,” Engerman said in an email statement.

“We have been automatica­lly scheduling patients’ second doses to occur a minimum of 28 days following their first dose to ensure that no dose is administer­ed earlier than the authorized intervals and patients are able to complete the series vaccinatio­n,” the statement said.

“We’re continuing to work on system enhancemen­ts to our scheduler, and this week plan to have new functional­ity in place allowing people to schedule Pfizer second dose appointmen­ts within a three-week time frame,” Engerman said.

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