CDC asked Walgreens to fix Pfizer vaccine second dose scheduling tool issue

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A sign about the COVID-19 vaccine is displayed on the window of a Walgreens on March 29, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. Texas has opened up all vaccination eligibility to all adults starting today. Texas has had a slower roll out than some states and with the increase in eligibility leaders are hoping more and more citizens get vaccinated. (Photo by Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

DEERFIELD, Ill. (NewsNation Now) — The nation’s largest pharmacy chain is working on “system enhancements” to its vaccine scheduling system after it was scheduling the wrong dates for those getting the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

In many states, Walgreens’ system has been automatically scheduling the second dose of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for 28 days following the first dose.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an interval between doses of 21 days for Pfizer-BioNTech and 28 days for Moderna.

In a statement to NewsNation, the CDC said they were aware of the issue with the scheduling tool, and that they asked Walgreens to address it.

“If it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval and a delay in vaccination is unavoidable, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose,” according to CDC guidance.

The recommendations also say the second dose shouldn’t be administered earlier than recommended.

The second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible.

CDC

In a statement to NewsNation, Walgreens confirmed the changes and said they have been working closely with the CDC.

“We have been automatically scheduling patients’ second doses to occur a minimum of 28 days following their first dose to ensure that no dose is administered earlier than the authorized intervals and patients are able to complete the series vaccination,” Walgreens Corporate Spokesperson Jim Cohn said. “We’re continuing to work on system enhancements to our scheduler, and this week plan to have new functionality in place allowing people to schedule Pfizer second dose appointments within a three-week timeframe.”

For those who already scheduled their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine through Walgreens and are wondering if they can adjust their appointment to the recommended 21 day interval, the company says they are looking into it.

“CDC will continue to work with Walgreens to ensure adjustments are made to the Pfizer vaccine scheduling process, and will continue to monitor all pharmacy partners to ensure the safe and efficient vaccination of people across the U.S.”

Partial CDC statement to NewsNation

Full Walgreens statement

We have worked closely with the CDC, federal, state and local government officials on COVID-19 vaccine distribution from the outset, and this includes recommended scheduling intervals for all vaccines.

In many states, our stores carry COVID-19 vaccines from multiple manufacturers simultaneously, as determined by federal and state allocation. The CDC states that second doses of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be administered up to 42 days after the first dose, but no earlier than the recommended interval of 21 and 28 days respectively.  We have been automatically scheduling patients’ second doses to occur a minimum of 28 days following their first dose to ensure that no dose is administered earlier than the authorized intervals and patients are able to complete the series vaccination. 

We’re continuing to work on system enhancements to our scheduler, and this week plan to have new functionality in place allowing people to schedule Pfizer second dose appointments within a three-week timeframe.

JIM COHN, Walgreens Corporate Spokesperson

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