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Walgreens allowing people awaiting second doses of Pfizer vaccine to reschedule appointments

Chicago Tribune - 4/8/2021

People who received their first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Walgreens may try to reschedule their second dose appointments — which were otherwise scheduled for four weeks after the first ones — for slightly earlier dates, a Walgreens spokesman said Thursday.

Once 20 days have passed since the first dose, people may try to reschedule the next shot for an earlier date, said spokesman Jim Cohn.

Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked Walgreens to start spacing first and second doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine three weeks apart instead of four, in line with the agency’s guidance. Walgreens had been scheduling appointments four weeks apart, regardless of whether they received Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

The CDC recommends 28 days between first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine, but 21 days between doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Walgreens already allowed people to reschedule a second dose online after the 20-day mark. No special priority in scheduling will be given to those who’ve already received their first shots and and are trying to reschedule their second doses for earlier dates, Cohn said.

Walgreens confirmed earlier this week that it would change its scheduling system to allow people to schedule Pfizer first and second dose appointments within a three-week time frame.

But the CDC’s request of Walgreens sparked questions from people who had already received first doses of Pfizer at Walgreens and were waiting four weeks for their second doses.

If it’s not possible to get a second Pfizer dose close to the 21-day time frame, the CDC says the second dose may be given up to 6 weeks after the first. Pfizer efficacy analyses included people who received their second doses up to 42 days after the first, said Kate Grusich, a CDC spokeswoman.

During clinical trials, “these vaccines were administered as a 2-dose regimen and were approximately 95% effective when used at specific dosages and dosing intervals,” she said in an email.

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