A day after getting the green light from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), second-round COVID-19 booster shots became available across Albertsons Cos. pharmacies.
Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons said yesterday that second-round boosters of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can be administered to eligible patients at its 1,722 pharmacies nationwide under the Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen and Carrs banners. Patients must wait four months after receiving their first booster dose to get the second booster injection.
“We are committed to help provide at-risk Americans and their families quick, convenient and equitable access to the COVID-19 booster,” Omer Gajial, executive vice president of pharmacy and health at Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “We are continuing to work in accordance with both the CDC and local health departments to do our part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and ensure safety of the communities we serve.”
The CDC recommended and the FDA authorized a second booster dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines to certain population groups on Tuesday. Patient eligible to receive another booster under the emergency use authorization include the following:
• People ages 50 and older at least four months after receipt of a first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
• Individuals ages 12 and older with certain kinds of immunocompromise can receive the Pfizer second booster at least four months after getting a first booster dose. Also included in this group are people who have undergone solid organ transplantation or who are living with conditions deemed to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.
• Those ages 18 and older with the same certain kinds of immunocompromise can receive the Moderna second booster at least four months after the first booster dose
• Adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago.
Eligible customers can get a second COVID booster shot by going to a participating Albertsons Cos. pharmacy or making an appointment online at albertsons.com/COVID-19. The company said that, to date, its pharmacy staff has administered more than 12 million COVID-19 vaccines overall.
About 3 million COVID vaccinations were administered in Albertsons’ fiscal 2021 third quarter ended Dec. 4, which at the time brought the company’s total to 11 million, President and CEO Vivek Sankaran reported in a conference call with analysts.
“Our pharmacy team continues to serve our communities with an array of services, including the COVID and flu vaccines,” Sankaran said in the call.
Last week, Albertsons Cos. also began providing rapid COVID-19 molecular testing at more than half of its 1,700-plus pharmacies under a partnership with health technology firm Cue Health. Performed by Albertsons’ pharmacy team, the service enables patients to get Cue's lab-quality COVID test results delivered to their email in 20 minutes.
According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), pharmacies have administered more than 234 million COVID-19 vaccines to date, accounting for two of every three COVID vaccinations. Over 46% of children ages 5 to 11 immunized against COVID received their shot(s) at a pharmacy, and half of pharmacy COVID vaccination sites are located in areas with high social vulnerability, NACDS said.
“Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals. Based on an analysis of emerging data, a second booster dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could help increase protection levels for these higher-risk individuals,” stated Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Additionally, the data show that an initial booster dose is critical in helping to protect all adults from the potentially severe outcomes of COVID-19. So those who have not received their initial booster dose are strongly encouraged to do so.”