Want a coronavirus vaccine? U.S. pharmacies say walk right in.
By Daniel E. Slotnik and Remy Tumin
Just a few weeks ago people sneaked across state lines, designed websites to scour the internet and even tried to pay for coronavirus vaccination appointments.
Now, in much of the United States, getting vaccinated can be as easy as walking into a pharmacy.
Earlier this week, President Biden called for pharmacies to provide vaccinations on a walk-in basis as a way to encourage hesitant people to get the shot. He also announced a new federal website and phone number that will help people find the site closest to them.
“We’re going to make it easier than ever to get vaccinated,” Mr. Biden said Tuesday.
Chains like Walmart, Walgreens, Safeway and Stop & Shop have said that they are now offering vaccines to walk-in clients at some locations or in mobile clinics. Other pharmacies preceded the president’s announcement. Rite Aid said that it would accommodate walk-ins on a limited basis last week, for example. The Biden administration is broadening access to help meet a goal of getting at least the first shot to 70 percent of American adults by July 4.
Many of the chains qualified the offer, noting that walk-ins would be subject to availability and that it was better to schedule an appointment, even on the same day.
Federal health officials have also directed drugstores and grocery-store pharmacies to offer second doses of the vaccine to people who received their first shot from a different provider.
The Biden administration is hoping for an uptick in vaccinations ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s expected authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15 by early next week. The president has said that age group is important in the fight against the virus because while they are not as susceptible to severe illness, they can still get sick and infect others.
Convenience is not the only way officials have encouraged people to get vaccinated. In exchange for a free inoculation against a potentially deadly illness you can now receive a ticket to a baseball game, a stiff drink or $100.
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