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Retail Pharmacies and Health Clinics Readying Pediatric COVID-19 Shots

FDA and CDC approval allows in-store doses for children ages 3+
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Walgreens kid vax
Following emergency-use authorization, Walgreens and other retailers are offering vaccines for children between the ages of 3 and 5.

Many grocers and retail pharmacies are gearing up for another round of COVID-19 vaccine administrations following the recent emergency-use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for injections in children under the age of five. The widely anticipated move was also endorsed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which okayed the jab for the youngest Americans.

In response, various retailers with pharmacy operations have started accepting appointments for pediatric COVID vaccinations. Starting June 25, Walgreens will begin administrating vaccines to children over the age of three at select locations around the country via appointments scheduled by parents or legal guardians. 

“Walgreens pharmacists have significant experience vaccinating younger populations and can help to ease concerns, answer questions and ensure parents feel informed and children feel comfortable during an appointment,” said Kevin Ban, M.D., chief medical officer.

Rite Aid’s retail pharmacies are also ramping up their efforts at select locations, scheduling appointments once vaccine shipments arrive. “Approval of the vaccine for this pediatric population is a major milestone in our pandemic journey,” remarked Chief Pharmacy Officer Karen Staniforth. “Parents have been eagerly awaiting the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for their little ones, and we look forward to vaccinating our youngest customers to help protect them against COVID-19.”

Several other retailers are participating in pediatric vaccinations. Hy-Vee, for example, announced this week that free vaccines for youngsters over the age of three are available at select Hy-Vee stores. Wegmans shared on its website that it is awaiting product arrival and will administer these doses to children three years and older, carrying the Moderna vaccine for three- and four-year-olds. Parents and caregivers can also take children for their Pfizer or Moderna shots to CVS, Walmart, Costco and Kroger stores, among other retailers.

While grocers and retail pharmacies are again becoming vaccine centers as they did when adults were getting their first doses and boosters, there are some differences this time around. Retail pharmacies can only give vaccines to children over the age of three; younger toddlers and babies should receive their three-dose pediatric Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or two-dose Pediatric Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from their pediatrician or other medical provider.

Hy-Vee, for its part, also has set up new parameters for pediatric jabs. Its pharmacy hubs are setting up appointments for children’s vaccines during select times for “a more kid-centric environment.”

Meanwhile, Public Super Markets affirmed that it has decided not to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to younger children, disclosing that choice without a detailed explanation.  

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens is No. 5 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid, West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee, Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health, Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S., Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco, Cincinnati-based Kroger and Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix are Nos. 21, 30, 34, 7, 1, 3, 4, and 12, respectively.

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