Now that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has secured approval to be administered to kids aged 12 to 15, major retail pharmacies are adjusting their policies to make the shots quickly available.
CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens and Rite Aid all announced this week that appointments would be open to adolescents following the Food and Drug Administration's decision. Walgreens said that appointments can be scheduled online or through walk-ins up to 30 minutes before the desired time.
Both CVS and Rite Aid are now extending the option for vaccine clinics to schools to encourage greater uptake in this age group. CVS is already managing vaccine clinics for 18 employers across 51 states through its Return Ready platform.
"With every new wave of eligibility our teams have worked around the clock to ensure vaccine access as soon as possible," said Karen Lynch, CEO of CVS Health, in a statement. "Offering vaccinations to younger populations at thousands of locations across the country brings us one step closer to prevailing over the pandemic."
The pharmacy chains said that parents would have to ensure their closest locations are administering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before scheduling an appointment. CVS customers can seek out a vaccine for this age group at 5,600 locations nationwide, the company said.
Rite Aid and CVS both said that schools and other organizations interested in setting up a potential vaccination clinic can reach out online to determine eligibility.
"Opening eligibility for those 12 and older is a major step forward in the effort to get as many people vaccinated as possible and help bring an end to the pandemic," said Jim Peters, chief operating officer at Rite Aid, in a statement.
"But we know that availability of the vaccine is just one step. It's important to reach people where they learn, gather, work, and worship. To make the vaccination process as safe and seamless as possible, we've designed a tool on our website that makes scheduling a pop-up clinic simple. Whether it's COVID-19 testing or vaccine clinics, we're eager to help our communities thrive," Peters said.